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Interview with PJ Hagerty

In this episode, Sean C. Davis interviews PJ Hagerty who founded a company delivering developer and community relations as a service and is a board member of an organization focused on mental health in the tech community.

Featured Guest

PJ is the founder of and a board member of Open Sourcing Mental Health ( He is an organizer of DevOps Days Buffalo, CodeDaze, and ElixirDaze. Additionally, PJ is a developer, writer, speaker, and musician. He is known to travel the world speaking about programming and the way people think and interact. He is also known for wearing hats.

Hosted by

Sean is a tinkerer and a teacher. He is driven to learn by doing (often failing) and loves passing those learnings onto others who may find them beneficial.


Sean C. Davis: [00:00:00] Welcome to code sandwich hour, a certified fresh event where we’re gonna talk code and sandwiches. And it’ll take about an hour this week. I’m really excited to welcome to this stage, our special guest PJ Haggerty of Dev relate.

PJ Hagerty: Thanks for here, PJ. Thanks for having me.

Sean C. Davis: Absolutely. Now, before we, we do anything else, first, most important question of the day, what is the best sandwich?

PJ Hagerty: It’s simple, it’s straightforward, a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And I ordered this way basic, but so this is I’m not skilled at cooking many things, and you can argue whether toasting is cooking or not, but like you’re using a device to, to make something hotter specifically, this device.

This is what makes the difference in our house. The hello, kitty. What is.

Sean C. Davis: Toaster. Oh, it

PJ Hagerty: is a, it’s a toaster. Okay. It’s a hello, kitty toaster. You put your toast in it. Doesn’t toast. Like the middle [00:01:00] part of it, because that’s where hello. Kitty’s face appeared. So you toast it a little bit. It’s lightly toasted.

You put on the jelly. It warms it up a little bit, but keeps it cool. That’s why the hello. Kitty toaster is key. And then the other side you put the peanut butter. It gets all nice and warm and melty, always creamy, peanut butter. I’m a fan of strawberry jelly. I know not everybody likes strawberry jelly.

I get the seedless Welchs or seedless, Smucker, strawberry jelly. It makes for a per like it’s got the sweet, it’s got the savory with the peanut butter. It’s got the nice semi soft, lightly toasted bread. And it’ll get you through your day. I manage to get through all of high school with peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter jelly sandwiches.


Sean C. Davis: now does this mean you’re not. You’re not going to go, like you’re not gonna have the classic PB and J it’s got, it

PJ Hagerty: has to be toasted in a rush. I will go classic PBJ. It’s doable. Okay. Okay. But if I have the time, if I have the whole 10 minutes that it takes to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I will make sure that, I get the right bread, and I will recommend if it’s gonna be a non toasted peanut butter and jelly go with some like marble rye, seedless, marble.

Put [00:02:00] peanut butter jelly on that. And that’s okay. That’s a good sentence. That’s for fancier days. but that’s the fan Phoebe and J yeah. I just, usually it’s just, whole grain I’m from Buffalo, New York. We go to Wegmans, we have Wegmans, whole grain, white bread. I don’t know what that means.

It looks like wheat bread, but doesn’t taste like crap okay. Cook it on that. Put it in the toaster very lightly toasted, just so that it gets a little bit browner. You still see hello kitty. A little bit in the middle. You’re perfect. Put it on the peanut butter jelly. Oh, so wait. It’s is it actually

Sean C. Davis: like toasting?

Hello, kitty into the bread.

PJ Hagerty: Yeah. Yeah. You actually, when you make the toast, oh, there’s a pic picture of her face that comes up.

Sean C. Davis: Oh, that’s amazing. So does that, is it’s probably not toasting it super evenly then

PJ Hagerty: I’m no, definitely not. Definitely not. So when you, what you want, regular toasting is toasted.

The best way to do is like half toast. It, pop it up yourself, turn it around, toast it again. Don’t get to see. Hello. Kitty is brilliantly in the toast, but. You get what you’re looking for. You get that. Okay. Okay. It’s also a great toaster for, I feel like I’m really selling this toaster.

It’s a great toaster for bagels, because like with bagels, like you have the hole anyway. [00:03:00] So why waste all that heat? Have the heat focus on the actual bagel part. Oh, okay.

Sean C. Davis: I feel like you’re you’ve figured something out with this toaster.

PJ Hagerty: Yeah. Accidentally, because it belongs to my youngest kid,

Sean C. Davis: what are you gonna do when either either it breaks or hello, kitty.

Isn’t cool in your house anymore. Are you just but what?

PJ Hagerty: How do we toast things? A hello? Kitty will always be welcoming our home. Okay. This is good. Fair B. It’s been going for 10 years. We’ve had this toaster for 10 years. Oh, holy moly. And it has never had a problem. And I hope that now that we’re bringing it up and talking about, there’s not going to be a problem, but but yeah I guess there’s other alternatives.

I hope that there’s a new version. Hello kitty. 2.0 toaster. I would buy the hello kitty air fryer. If they had one of those, I’d be into that. I wonder how you’d get the face

Sean C. Davis: on something if you’re air

PJ Hagerty: frying though. Yeah. I don’t really know how that works. It’d be challenging.

Yeah. Like little mini. Hello? Kittys on all of your chicken wings.

Sean C. Davis: that would, that’s I don’t there’s something

PJ Hagerty: there. There’s definitely a business plan there somewhere.

Sean C. Davis: Yes. Yes. [00:04:00] Okay. What about. . What about the peanut butter? Is it, are you opinionated on the chunky versus smooth?

PJ Hagerty: Oh, creamy. Definitely. Definitely. This is, this was I almost didn’t get married to my wife because of this issue. I am an advocate of creamy peanut butter. I believe creamy peanut butter is the answer. If I wanted to eat peanuts, I will get a handful of peanuts. I do not want that in my sandwich.

I just want creamy peanut butter, something smooth. I don’t want giant chunks of strawberry in my jelly either. I feel like that’s weird unless it’s some like cool homemade thing that somebody did for whatever. You spread. Yeah, no, no creamy peanut butter. When it starts to break down under that toast, it warms up a little bit.

It’s like extra smooth and extra buttery and it’s just, oh, it’s a beautiful thing. Yes. Yes. Thank you, George Washington, Carver. You’re the best

Sean C. Davis: I totally agree with you. It our, but our whole family. is all creamy. In fact creamy, peanut butter. In fact my, my wife and kids, I don’t eat a ton of peanut butter, but wife and kids like fly through this stuff.

And there was one week, [00:05:00] maybe a couple months ago that my wife went to the grocery store, accidentally bought the crunchy peanut butter. And I’m telling you, usually one of those, one of those normal sized jars, it’s a, it lasts about a week in our house. This thing was in our house for months because nobody wanted to touch, we’re giving it to the little one year old because nobody else wants

PJ Hagerty: to.

Cause they don’t know. They don’t know. They don’t know. They don’t care. Yeah. One year olds don’t have opinions until they do. But but yeah, yeah that’s the way it is. And it’s odd because with my kids, it’s a little bit te like my wife and I, we love peanut butter jelly sandwiches. My son only peanut butter, my youngest only jelly.

And it’s like it’s yeah. Toasted jelly sandwiches. That’s basically toast. Yeah. That’s really just toast and jam, but We don’t tell them, but if you got too

Sean C. Davis: okay. We, I’ve agreed with the show to not be too opinionated on what is or isn’t a, this is a very sandwich inclusive environment.

PJ Hagerty: Yes. Yes. I was tempted really? What’s my favorite sandwich. If I say hotdog, does that create controversy right off the top? Yeah.

Sean C. Davis: I think that actually the I think the, like the Websters [00:06:00] dictionary says anything. Alright. I’m not gonna get it perfectly correct, but it’s like filling in between two slices of bread or a split roll, is a bun, a split roll, cuz it doesn’t say bun.

I don’t know.

PJ Hagerty: See now there are certain parts of the world where a bun is re specifically referred to as a split.

Sean C. Davis: There we go maybe hot to accounts, but we could spend a

PJ Hagerty: lot of time on this. That’s a whole show.

Sean C. Davis: Yes, totally. Oh, last thing I gotta say before we actually, before we transition into the rest of the show is, I don’t know if I mentioned this on a previous episode or not, but I feel like it comes up regularly in my life and I don’t know why, but I didn’t grow up on peanut butter and jelly.

I grew up on peanut butter and mayonnaise and not just okay. Mayonnaise, but miracle whip. This came from my grandma and it was, that is, I won’t go. I’m not even interested in trying this again, but ate it like every day as a kid. And then my sister two, I have three siblings and I’m the [00:07:00] oldest and the next two were like, that’s gross, peanut butter and jelly is the way to go.

But the youngest one was like, no oldest brother is cool. I’m gonna eat this too. And then she’s but I’ve got, I have to disrupt it a little bit. And she would take. A slice of craft American single American that like fake American cheese and put it that there. Yeah. Yeah. I tried that once.

It is disgusting.

PJ Hagerty: That sounds horrible. Yeah, that sounds really bad. but sometimes you have family traditions. What are you gonna do?

Sean C. Davis: It’s true. Yeah. And living in the Midwest, we just eat weird, gross fatty things all the time. Yeah. It’s what we do. All right. Let’s let’s dig into the rest of the show.

Take a step back here and introduce it. So before we move on for all of you out in the audience and anyone listening in just a quick recap of how this all works, the rest of the show is going to be a series of three segments. Each of them will have a name, a very bad, slightly different pun purpose, and a little bit of a different format each.

The theme we’re gonna go with this week [00:08:00] in honor of PJ is Buffalo, New York. These will be nice and pun and terrible and we’re being recorded live for those of you listening to the syndicated version. And so for those of you in the virtual audience today, if you have questions along the way, feel free to drop them in the chat.

I won’t get to all of them, but we’ll sneak a few in as I. And for those of you listening to the syndicated version, just or reminder that you can get these on YouTube. You can get them wherever you get your podcast. And if you wanna look back on previous episodes, you can find the complete history at CFE dot depth.

Okay. And we are, since we, we are live now, it is Thursday. We just a reminder that we do this every first or every, the first and third, Thursday of every month at 1:00 PM Eastern time in the us, which is 5:00 PM GMT. Okay. Enough of the housekeeping let’s get into our first segment, which today I’m calling wings.

Of [00:09:00] course. Perfect. Here’s why you’ve been writing and you’ve been writing code. You’ve been building communities for a long time. So you had to get your wings somewhere. Okay. Really bad. It might, it works. Works.

PJ Hagerty: We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.

Sean C. Davis: okay. So BJ, tell me about the first line of code you prob you probably don’t remember the specifics, but the first line of code you write, what, when was it, what do you think you were building?

What language was it? Oh,

PJ Hagerty: I actually do remember the first line of code. Oh I wrote it on a Texas instruments computer that hooked up to the back of a television set that my grandmother had gotten for opening a bank account. Like that’s they used to get, they used to give you toasters and blenders and then he’d be like, oh that’s a computer isn’t appliance.

Here you go. So yeah. And she looked at it and said, I have no idea what to do with this. PJ, why don’t you take this to your house and figure it out? Because I was like that kid who knew how to set the time on the VCR. So obviously computer is what I needed and it, but it came with a book of basic.

And [00:10:00] obviously the first line of code I wrote was 10 go to 20. And just as simple beginning, like letting a basic program understand that it’s about to start after that I got, A little bit better, basically. It was basic. You couldn’t really do a whole lot with this computer.

It required audio tapes to save a program. In those little old, you see them in movies sometimes the FBI is talking to somebody and they hit the little recorder box with a regular magnetic tape in it. And that’s what you recorded your programs on. So it was D like you had to write it, hit record, run it, let the tape pick it up and hope that whole system worked, which it may or may not.

Like these are like pre scuzzy cables. It was a bad situation. There was no GitHub. There was no source control. It was all best of luck to you. But that’s how I got started. And then it just continued. I was a big math student when I was a kid. So back then, being in math meant that you were gonna get introduced to computers fairly early.

I, at the the high school that I went to, the Buffalo academy of science and mathematics no longer in existence, pretty cool school.[00:11:00] We had the first take home laptop program. Oh, interesting. These were, yeah. Panasonic, portable computers. This is probably

Sean C. Davis: early laptop days, right?



PJ Hagerty: Like the laptop was just becoming a thing where it wasn’t just a word processor. Like originally they were like overblown typewriters. They had one program, a word processing program on it. But we, we were able to bring them home. They weighed about 45 pounds ish, which, I mean in high school, I weighed about twice that and you carry it on the bus.

You’d kinda, lean over and we would write turbo Pascal 5.5 program. Which was not so different from the basic really. So yeah.

Sean C. Davis: What kinds of what, what would be the result of a program? What sort of thing would you build?

PJ Hagerty: This was high school. So a lot of what we were writing in programs were like basic IO stuff.

How do I ask a person to log into a thing? And it, all command line based, how do I, create something that has like a small desktop interface? How do I create something that has an icon? That was what we were working on at the time, because we were, [00:12:00] there was very little, no OS it was dos, there was no, we weren’t building, there was no web for the general people out in the world.

We were putting things on discs and hoping for the best.

Sean C. Davis: Interesting. Okay. And This is Prego to college. And then you decided to study computer science in college.

PJ Hagerty: See, that’s where things took turns. John, it got a little weird. Okay. So I went to college when I was 17 to study anthropology because going to the Buffalo academy of science and math the computer stuff was great, but we had the first anthropology program and I was super into physical and cultural anthropology.

Just the whole concept of like archeology was cool, but like anthropology, the whole evolutions thing, really neat. But I was also a musician. So around the age of 18, I decided to not go to college anymore and be a full-time musician which was great for a very good three years. Like a really good solid three years there where, you can make money and play shows and do little tours and you thought you were awesome and lots of fun.

And I wouldn’t trade that in for the world. It [00:13:00] was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And as we’ll see, when I talk about later in my career, like it really informed a lot of what I do now. Around the age of 21, 22 is time to settle down a bit. I got, I re the band, broke up, things went south and I was like, all right I need to do something.

So I started to get things back together. I went back to college and I was like, all right, I still love anthropology, but I also know that, I’m dating this lady, she’s got a couple kids we’re gonna get married, maybe have more kids. And anthropology does not pay the bills. At all even with a PhD, you’re still struggling to make ends meet with an anthropology degree.

So computer science, I could get back into that’s the money version of math get into that. Cause I didn’t care about like accounting or banking or investments, or I still don’t care about any of that stuff. But. Building puzzles, making things work was really like one of the best ways to get back into it.

And I’ve I decided the program was the way to go. So I started taking classes.

Sean C. Davis: Interesting. Okay. Okay. So [00:14:00] it wasn’t like math, math is my thing a hundred percent from the very

PJ Hagerty: beginning. That’s no, I mean like math, math was my thing, but it was almost so much my thing that became secondary like it was like, oh, you’re captain of the math team of course I am.

Why wouldn’t I be, I love math and I’m really good at it. I finished my college math before I was a junior in high school. Who would big, big whoop about math, everybody. But because that’s also like the group of people, I was surrounded in, like math wasn’t considered so outlandish or difficult, it was just like, yeah, of course math is easy.

Like we all know math is easy, cuz it’s easy to us. We have no exposure to any outside culture that thinks math is hard. When it was actually, when I first went to college, when I was 17, when people were like, oh, we noticed you’re not in the 100 level math classes. And I’m like, yeah, no, I’ve already finished my college math.

I finished calculus and advanced Cal calculus. Like we’re done with that. And the people just being like that’s impossible. Math is really hard. What about math is hard? Like first of all, let me explain cuz I was a cocky 17 year old. So I was like, first of all, let me explain to you how you’ve only learned arithmetics thus far.[00:15:00]

Then we’ll get into the fact that you have actually haven’t learned mathematics. Probably never took a physics course in your life, blah, blah, blah, blah. I have sense toned down. But , that’s great. But yeah it was an interesting time to have that gap and come back and realize that like mathematics had become computer science up to that, like computer science that like, that was some nerd stuff.

That was really amazingly nerdy people do. Not what mathematicians do. Mathematicians are focused on physics and other scientific endeavors or straight math. But there, like the combination of the two, when I came back to going to school was really impressive. So it was about problem solving it.

Wasn’t about , clicking things together to make a machine do beep. Yeah. Yeah,

Sean C. Davis: totally. Something so about studying computer science. I think if you take your story and you move it I think like a decade or two into the future, I think a lot of people would they would have that moment of, I need to settle down.

I’m interested in [00:16:00] computers programs, and I’m not gonna go back to school. I’m just gonna learn it. And there are a lot of resources at our disposal to do that today. Was that not a thing you could do back when you were making that decision or was there a, like a reason that you chose

PJ Hagerty: to go to school?

The reason I chose to go to school was at the time most of the programming jobs that I saw were like required bachelor’s degree required. Yes. Okay. So that and. I real, in retrospect, like that was so dumb. I know so many people that have master’s degrees in computer science, couldn’t write, couldn’t build a simple HTML website, but theoretically they know a lot about computers.

It’s that’s great. But practicality is important too. I’m so jealous of people that get to go to boot camps or learn online. Like I’m so jealous of that because I would’ve loved that experience. The ability to take it, run with it, do what I need to do. I didn’t like the formal schooling experience.

I was a wild stallion, Sean, musician who was older coming onto a campus and be like, man, you can’t tame me with this. Do not wanna [00:17:00] sit in a classroom. Yeah, exactly. And if I have to, if after a one more hello world, I’m gonna hurt somebody. But it was the mechanic of the time.

It’s what you needed to get the job. And the idea was get the job. I’m glad I did it. I don’t regret that I did it, but I also respect the fact that if I didn’t have to do it, I probably wouldn’t have. And I am jealous of people that get to go to touring or, the, a aid academy who are able to like, do the power through course and learn a language and get out there and start actually doing the job.


Sean C. Davis: And I know it’s a whole other thing to actually land the job after you do it, but there’s, yeah. There’s so many tools at our disposal today. Exactly. What so I do wanna move on to the next segment, but before we do that I wanna fill in some space in the middle there. And I’m really curious to hear about your.

Your shift from those early days into Ruby, particularly selfishly. Cause I, I started by building some WordPress sites and, but my first job was in Ruby and I wrote rails for the first five years of my development career or so, so yeah. Can you tell me about that [00:18:00] kind of that

PJ Hagerty: shift in your, yeah, it’s, it’s interesting cuz it was actually shortly after I graduated from college, got the degree, came out, got a job working, supported a company and it was like I was working support and being a member of the engineering team and they were coding in visual Fox pro sorry.

It’s just bad. I actually don’t, I don’t know anything about it. Yeah. I did probably. I would say anybody who’s gonna be listening to this podcast under the age of 40 will not know a visual Fox pro is those who are above the age of 40 there’s only like a 9% chance that they’ll know what it is, but it was a bad Microsoft system at the time, like rails was making a big thing.

And Microsoft said we’re done with visual Fox pro. So how do we, you know what my, my head of engineering panicked, he’d only ever done this in his professional life, visual Fox, bro, that’s it, there was no other answer. That’s how we solved problems. We’d built five or six different applications, which visual Fox pro what do we do?

So we looked into it and he realized that Postgres, the querying and Postgres is very similar to the querying in Fox pro. Good. So we can use Postgres for the database side [00:19:00] of things. Awesome. What works well with Postgres? And at the time, like rails was huge. It was like, this was like 2007, 2008. Yeah.

And like rails is making a big splash. So he is like, all right, PJ, can you go home and learn Ruby on rails on the weekend? And I said, no, . I was like, I have kids. I have hockey practice. I have dance class. I have all kinds of things. I can’t just go learn a language. We hired a couple people. One of which was like Waynes, who created RVM and Kevin Baird who wrote Ruby by example, who just happened to be living in Buffalo.

And they came and joined the team. I taught them the knowledge space of what we were building with our applications, academic software, not very exciting. And they taught me how to Ruby, the things that we were doing. And we actually had some like early kind of microservices, architecture concepts in there, and it was a lot of fun.

Moving from Fox pro to Ruby was like a gift from heaven. Like I know a lot of people like, oh, ho Ruby makes programmers happy. Yeah. Cuz it does. That’s not a snappy tagline. Like it’s actually [00:20:00] a great language to program things in. And Ruby C communities is a great community. They’re probably one of my this might get me in trouble.

Probably one of my favorite communities of all time that I’ve ever worked with. They’re just fantastic. Welcome opening, caring, empathetic people.

Sean C. Davis: I, yeah I totally agree. I felt and at the time I started building rails apps, which is, it’s probably like 20 11, 20 12 or so. And I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio, and we even, this is not a, this is not really, or at least at that time, definitely not a big development community.

But even within our smaller community, lots of folks writing rails. And so it was like lot of resources to get started and Yeah, I agree with you. I actually, I think I had a conversation the other day with someone where I said, it’s I love the space we’re in now with JavaScript and type script and all the tools we have at our disposal.

And everyone’s priorit. A lot of folks are prioritizing developer experience and it was I just remember that shift from in the early JAMstack [00:21:00] days from Ruby into this new decoupled pre rendered Architecture for and way to build sites. And at first I just, I missed writing Ruby so much.

I was like, okay, now I’m writing JavaScript a hundred percent of the time and I’ve five years later. I totally love it. But it took a minute to get there cuz it was oh, definitely

PJ Hagerty: to leave Ruby. Yeah. That’s there’s a lot of people that I’ve talked to that say, it’s not just the language itself, but it, part of it is the community and the support you get.

Like with Ruby, you have a question, you ask it, it’s answered. There’s someone there, whether it’s on stack overflow or in IRC, I think people are still using the Ruby IRC. Doesn’t matter where it’s happening. People are there to support what you’re doing. They wanna help you out. And that’s the great, and I think, you mentioned being in Cincinnati that’s the home of one of the greatest Rubus of all time.

My good friend, Jim Wyrick and I think that’s why that he’s part of the reason. Like it’s not just because I think, yeah, you’re right. Great language, great people. That combination makes a community grow.

Sean C. Davis: For sure. For sure. Yeah. And a lot [00:22:00] of , especially as we’re coming, transitioning out of the pandemic, like a lot in those days was just being with people in the same room as people and all it can build a lot of influence that

PJ Hagerty: way.

Yeah. And we’ll see if that comes back. I think right now we’re still at, like being in a room full of people is slightly awkward and somewhat off putting yes. Yes.

Sean C. Davis: But yeah. Hope, hope to see it come back. And anyways, let’s yeah, let’s transition and I’m sure we’ll touch back on, on a few of those things, but segment number two today, I’m calling Niagara falls.

and I’m doing this because as we accumulate more knowledge and more abilities, it can feel like it could almost feel. Waterfall, both of let’s call it information, but also opportunity. And what I’ve found progressing throughout my career is that it’s I’m also I’m a yes man to say yes to ever I wanna do all of the things, but I think we often are forced if we’re.

If we’re going to achieve our goals, we gotta, we have to focus. We have to narrow a little bit. And so [00:23:00] you have you’ve transitioned from those early days and now you’re doing a lot of community building and you’ve, you have founded dev lake. And so I’m curious to hear a little bit about dev lake, what is it?

And what’s the story? Where did

PJ Hagerty: it begin? Yeah, to, to we’ll start with what it is and endeavor eight is a, it’s a fairly simple concept developer and community relations as a service. You know what software as a service is. You might know what developer relations community relations is.

It’s community management dealing with the communities you wanna be. Let’s say, you said you’re working at a company that does jams stack. You wanna know what jams stack events are important. You wanna speak at the community to talk about the things that you’re doing in the company, not necessarily the product, we don’t do sales stuff, but we talk about the concepts around it.

You wanna build some content, you wanna write blog posts at certain size companies, they just don’t have the ability to hire someone on full time to do that. Or they have some things they need to do. They need to, and, enhance their team for a while. So they come to Deely and we help them out with whatever they need.

That can be coaching, a CEO on how to talk about, jams stack concepts, when they really are only have only been focused on the product for so long [00:24:00] or, teaching an engineer, how to write better blog posts, because they’re so used to writing documentation that it just, it’s just kinda any of those services that get you to reach out to a community, give the community something.

We help you make that connection.

Sean C. Davis: Are you doing any. Like producing any content on behalf of companies or are you mostly doing more like coaching

PJ Hagerty: consulting? We produce massive amounts of content. Okay. It’s very rare that you’ll see my or any of our writer’s names on it. We do a lot of ghost writing.

And the reason for that is, same kind of concept. The people who are in charge of a company, especially a startup, who’s just starting out. They don’t have the time, like they have the idea and they can maybe give you an outline. Sometimes it’s a five minute conversation that says all you’re gonna get, you have to base 600, 800 words on that, but we produce a ton of content.

Be it we produce podcasts, which sometimes I host them or they provide a host and we just edit and filter them and help with guests sometimes. We’re doing, massive blog posts, writing white papers, doing case studies write rewriting documentation is something we do because sometimes [00:25:00] engineers aren’t great at that.

It’s whatever you need, whatever kind of public facing thing you need, we can help you with.

Sean C. Davis: It that’s I think that’s great. And I love that you said documentation at the end there because so my title is I work at stack bitt and I’m the developer experience engineer and we’re smaller team.

We’ve got 22 folks. So we’re still new to like in the early days of our story. But when I was talking about coming on board, they technically had two job openings. One was dev re, and one said developer experience. And I think the founder said a very clear understanding of where that difference is.

And then I talked to folks around the community. It’s everybody had a different opinion. And so we were talking about what do I like to do? How am I gonna succeed in this role? Which one of these jobs is for me? And it, we ended. Picking developer experience together, but it’s my job is both of those things and all over the place.

So I was curious yeah, do you set boundaries of what you will and won’t do? Or is it’s

PJ Hagerty: all fair game. We try to [00:26:00] set boundaries. Usually we try to let the clients the people that we work with set those boundaries, but sometimes coaching does come into play. There’s a lot of people, for those people that are not familiar with devel there’s a book out there called the business value of developer relations by Mary NGAL.

And we, but you’ve got that one . Yeah. And if it comes down to it, a client doesn’t seem to understand what, where the boundaries should be set in some way I send them the book, I just buy it for them and send it right to ’em. Because you do need to understand that like dev Rell is a huge umbrella term under that’s developer advocacy, dev experience, user experience, community manage.

Content technical writing. There’s so many different things that fall under that. And then, a lot of what they see is like the kind of like VC captured in a nutshell, like if we’re gonna give you money you have to have a dev re, and it’s like a devel that’s not actually a person like this.

You can’t unify dev devel it’s developer relations. It’s an activity under that name, a lot of things need to happen. And developer experience is one of the biggest things that I think people miss that a lot. They’re like, no, maybe you should [00:27:00] focus on how developers actually interact with your product.

Sean C. Davis: For sure. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. I was gonna ask cuz I, I feel like there’s still a lot of ambiguity out in these various communities about yeah. Like you had said, do I need it? And I think that book does a great job of proving the point for it. Another topic is that I hear sometimes it’s like.

my, the product I’m building isn’t for developers first. It’s like it’s developers are not my main user, so why should I

PJ Hagerty: have, why should I have, why do I need to care? Develop? Yeah. Yeah. What, how do you I’ve heard that? Yeah, like it’s, so one of the things that I actually did is I pre COVID was spending a lot of time in the talks that I was giving.

And the content that I was writing, talking about how every company’s realized they’re a tech company, every company has developers in it. Excuse me, anything outside of the like mom and pop organization is running a brick and mortar store on main street. Everything beyond that, banks, hospitals, all of these things are [00:28:00] tech companies.

They need to realize that if you have a tech company, you need developer relations, it may be that you don’t need external facing developer relations. You might need internal facing developer relations, people that focus on, What skills do we need, what’s going on in the community. And if anything, healthcare can benefit this from more than anyone else they need to, jump 10 years ahead because they’re about 15 years behind everyone else.

As far as they’re so worried about security, they don’t worry about anything else. And developers that are working on healthcare apps are having the worst time of things. The perfect example of a huge community that’s underserved by devel. And it’s not that difficult. There are people who are experts out there who could definitely help.

Sean C. Davis: That. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense that, and that’s that’s something I don’t think a lot about is because I am in a working for a product that really cares about the developer right experience. But that developer experience or developer relations might actually not be about developers using the product.

It might be about your internal developers building your PR. Like it can be a whole [00:29:00] internal

PJ Hagerty: practice as well. Yeah. I, there’s a good friend of mine. His name’s Davey, he worked at a company that did a car driving service. But not Uber. He worked there doing specifically develop internal developer relations and his whole job was like to make sure teams were communicating with each other to make sure that internal community was functioning the way the external community was bringing up things like, Hey, there’s this new Python package that would really help us out with this X project.

We should totally do that. And just being like the person on the scene, understanding that’s like super important to manage that internal community as well. It’s something, I think that a lot of companies miss is like you, the larger you get the larger, you have an internal community that needs to be managed in some way.

That’s yeah.

Sean C. Davis: That’s really Interestings like you, can you think about I, I. When we talk about dev re as our like public community, we think, oh yeah, we’re putting on public meetups and conferences and all that. And you’re like you could actually take all of that and put it internal in a big company.

We’re still gonna throw events and have meetups, but it’s just it’s about our [00:30:00] company,

PJ Hagerty: right? Exactly. You could do little lunch and learn things where different teams talk about their projects and talk about their hobbies. You could have, you, I, I know that I’ve had internal devel teams that manage freedom Fridays, where everyone gets to work on open source project.

That isn’t the job that you do, but gives back to the community. There’s lots of, there’s lots of internal activities that people can be doing that is really missed when you say we don’t have product to focus on developers, so we don’t need devel. It’s yo, you need Deval. I’m here to tell you, you need devel like you need a hello, kitty toast.

You don’t know that you need it, what you

Sean C. Davis: need it. Yes. Yes. Amazing. Yes. We’ve come full circle already. This is great. This is great. Okay. So speaking of giving back to the community one. You’re involved with an org organization called opensourcing mental illness. Is that yes? Correct? Is

PJ Hagerty: I got the name?

So we actually have just rebranded. We’re now opensourcing mental health has slightly more positive feel, but it’s OS M H So if you’re looking that up. Yeah. And our [00:31:00] focus has been this stemmed from my engineer yard days when I was working with the company engineered and we had a comp an organization called MH prompt, mental health prompt and our job was to get speakers to conferences, to specifically talk on issues of mental health ranging everything from burnout to ADHD, to bipolar disorder, to eating disorders, all mental health issues that.

Developers and discussed by real developers. And that was, eventually we realized that what MH prompt was doing and what O SMI was doing at the time was we were gaining parody. So why not put the two things together which is what we did. So I became a board member there and we continued to, make sure everybody can get on stage.

Everybody gets to where they need to be. And then we continue the conversation about mental health, because we have a real stigma in this industry still, and this has been going on for nearly 10 years. We’ve been doing O S M H and prompt and all of the mental health stuff. Next year it will be the 10th year that all of that’s been going on and people still are like I don’t have mental health issues.

It’s do you, maybe you [00:32:00] do. Maybe you’d like to talk about that. And the main reason behind it is, we have no problem saying oh my, my laptop doesn’t work or my keyboard’s busted, but the most important tool we have in our arsenal and is our brains. And no one wants to admit that maybe that doesn’t work right.


Sean C. Davis: Or even do you talk often about just taking a break and not just writing code

PJ Hagerty: 24 7? Exactly. Yeah. Take literal physical, healthy behavior lends to your mental health. Things like, this was tough, especially during the pandemic, get outside, walk a dog.

Doesn’t have to be your dog, but make sure you have permission first make sure you’re showering, take care of yourself sitting in a dark, corner and coding all the time is not good for you. You have to have other things like, we were talking before the show.

You’re like, you’re not much of a comic book guy, but then we started talking about guitar amplifiers yeah. Turn around, play guitar for five minutes. It doesn’t matter if you know how or not. It does not matter if you know how or not do something else for five minutes walk away or you’re going to burnout.

And oh, yes. And I said, it doesn’t matter if you’re a DevOps engineer, a developer a systems administrator, a [00:33:00] designer. This is true for everybody. I don’t care if you’re a product manager. Take a break, walk away, come back five, 10 minutes and

Sean C. Davis: feel better. Absolutely. And I feel like we, when we moved into the pandemic, yeah we lost, I felt like mental health got it was harder to maintain at first because we were hanging onto our old ways, but we also lost that camaraderie and being next to people and all that, but at the same time at least for me personally, that transitioned to realizing, Hey, I actually, if I make my own boundaries, I’m in my own space and nobody really cares if I leave for play guitar for five minutes also, nobody’s really gonna miss me.

If I go take that hour long walk to refresh, come back. And even if I work an hour less than a day, I’m probably doing. More than I would’ve done because I had the time to think and

PJ Hagerty: process all of that. And that’s, I think part of it too is when we were in offices or even before the pandemic in general, people would just like check [00:34:00] in and be like, Hey, how are you doing?

Hey, how are things going? Or they could see Hey, Sean, you’re looking a little, look a little tired. Why don’t you take a break for 10 minutes? And there, there was a reflective behavior. There was someone else to point that out to you. And for the first few months of the pandemic there wasn’t cuz everyone was just like, oh my God, I don’t even know what’s happening.

What should I do? How do I handle this? And that? That was a huge crisis. And luckily, health, folks in the us responded with, Hey, there’s video health appointments now, and you can speak with a therapist online and we’ll open that up to have that ability.

But for those first few months, what a nightmare a lot of people just didn’t know what to do and they did become. So in enclosed and wow. I shouldn’t even leave. And I know like I was being, I wouldn’t walk my dog except at night. Cause I knew no one else walks their dog in my neighborhood at night.

And he is a small dog. He just hang out in the backyard anyway, but it was like one of those things I don’t wanna run into people. How close is too close? Do I need a mass be walking around my neighborhood? Like it was just, there was so much unsurety that mental health went right, in the bucket right in the bucket.

A hundred percent. Yeah. But yeah. And I should mention, I know this isn’t [00:35:00] the pushing portion, but may is mental health awareness month. Definitely make sure that you’re checking in. If you feel like you, you don’t have an issue. That’s cool. See a therapist just to try it out and see what it’s like.

If you have some extra cash later around donated to causes like O SMH, because they can always use it. They’re happy to use that money to get more resources out there. You can go to their website and get resources about, how to recognize some things in yourself how to recognize some things in others.

We also always recommend that someone in your organization should take mental health first aid. It’s like a hundred bucks and it’s a one day course. And they train you up on how to recognize things. Not diagnose, not cure, just recognize so you can help people get help.

Sean C. Davis: That’s wonderful. Yeah.

And I actually, I just read this morning that it was mental health month and I was like, this is this or mental health awareness month. This is great. This is great fitting for our show today. Exactly. So I’ll we last question before we move on and I might end up with a related question in our last segment, but just curious if there’s something that really stands out for you with your [00:36:00] involvement with O SM H in terms of.

Do you have a favorite go-to story or when you like really made an impact on someone it’s? Yeah. Yeah. What, like sticks and stays in your mind? Yeah,

PJ Hagerty: I think to me, there, there was a moment where we were at a conference called PHP tech in Chicago, and I wanna say this is back in 2015.

But they wanted to make mental health very much a part of that conference. So we had three speakers there. Patty foreign, Greg boas Ben Evans, I wanna say his last name. He was the Magento guy. I don’t remember his last name. Ben marks. And myself is MC and they were, and ed Finkler and each of them had 15 minutes to do their little talk about mental health.

And, Ben came up and he talked about how he has ADHD pretty severely, and it makes it very difficult for him to focus and so on and so forth. And, Ed talks about, his social anxiety and his O C D. And a lot of people there had known ed for 15, 20 years in the PHP community and never knew he had these issues.

They’re always like, oh, ed just gets tired. He doesn’t wanna go to the parties. He’s no, ed doesn’t wanna go to the parties. Cuz he is very [00:37:00] uncomfortable going to the parties and that’s okay. We need to respect that. But Patty actually was the one. He walked us through a day in the life of what it’s life like to have severe depression.

And it’s not oh, I feel down. It’s oh, I kind of wanna die every five minutes. You’re making decision on whether to live or not. And he had everyone close his eyes, literally walked us through a day of what that was like. And it was the most difficult and powerful 15 minutes I’ve ever sat through at a tech conference in my life.

And all four of those guys, absolutely amazing speakers, but just so great that they’d shared their stories. And that’s that to me is that’s the value that O SMH brings to the world. Okay.

Sean C. Davis: That, that sounds, yeah. That’s I even hear just talking about them, talking about it, I’m like, oh, I can picture the impact that must have had

PJ Hagerty: on folks who have attended the big feedback that we get is just not just, like the tears that we’re flowing after, Patty’s story are people it’s the Prairie dog, so to speak.

It’s the people who I watch them, like from, [00:38:00] the side of the stage and I’m looking and I’m watching and they’re sitting there, they’re looking at their phones or computers. And somebody says something like when Greg bogus talks about his issues with bipolar and he says something and someone goes, whoop, wait a minute.

Ah yes, me. I do that. That’s what makes the difference. We’ve had so many people that have come to tell us that our, the talks we’ve done have had an impact on their life. The presentations the, we wrote a conference guide for CubeCon the last couple years, just on how to handle your mental health being at a conference.

Because it’s difficult for a lot of people to see that many people all in one place. And it’s just, this is the world we live in. We need to take care of each other and make sure we’re all doing okay. I love

Sean C. Davis: that. Love, love that you’ve you’re part of this organization pushing this cause yeah, I think this is,

PJ Hagerty: oh, it’s a privilege important.

It’s a privilege to be part of it.

Sean C. Davis: Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. And with that, let’s move on to our third and final segment. This one ready for it. I’m gonna call it. I’m ready. I’m

PJ Hagerty: ready.

Sean C. Davis: Snow showers.

PJ Hagerty: Because no, we could. Can I make a request [00:39:00] blizzard?

Yeah, we’ll call it the blizzard. Okay.

Sean C. Davis: Actually. This is better. Blizzard is better. Yep. I’m thinking about blizzards better because like a cold day in January or February, or whenever it’s snowing in Buffalo, it’s like these questions they’re gonna accumulate quickly. There you go. I think that might be

PJ Hagerty: my one.

I like it.

Sean C. Davis: Okay. So I’m, I’ve got a handful of questions here. They should be fairly short questions, probably prompting, fairly short answers and they’re all over the place. So feel free to pass on any of them.

PJ Hagerty: Ready? All right, I’m ready. Okay.

Sean C. Davis: Question number one. How many times have you been to Niagara

PJ Hagerty: falls?

Whew, millions. Every field trip, at least once a year through all of the 12 years of school. Plus every time someone comes to town, probably at least I’d say at least a hundred, hundred 50 times. Wow.

Sean C. Davis: Okay. Now are you opinionated on which side is the better

PJ Hagerty: Side? Jan side is better.

Can I there’s no question. It’s hard to argue that there’s value to both sides, us [00:40:00] side, you get very close, you could understand the power of the falls Canadian side. You can see the full thing. It’s the beauty of the polls. That’s a

Sean C. Davis: actually great way to put it. Yes, totally agree.

There’s also, isn’t there. I it’s been several years. Is there way more tourism on the Buffalo side? At least there, there was when I was there last time or is it now? It’s probably

PJ Hagerty: both sides. It’s hard to say post pandemic. I’d have to say there’s less tourism in general, but and also you can’t just walk across the way that you used to which was a big thing.

People would come to the Buffalo side. If they’re from the us, come to the Buffalo side, walk across the footbridge. And then, be there on the Canadian side, I would say there’s more people that are staying on the Buffalo side than there used to be. But we’ll see, now that things are opening up how that’s gonna work.

interesting. Okay.

Sean C. Davis: Question number two. This might have some overlap. What are you proudest of?

PJ Hagerty: What am I proudest of? Probably my kids. They’re doing really well. They’re both college, soon to be college graduates. Soon-ish college is a lot less structured than I remember it being, [00:41:00] but from either time, but no they’re two really successful people that are doing the things that they want to do out there in the world.

And that’s to me the most important thing. That’s amazing. Okay.

Sean C. Davis: Okay. Number three. What is something that most people don’t know

PJ Hagerty: about Buffalo? Something most people don’t know about Buffalo that we have a beautiful and thriving tech and architecture scene. Where actually there’s lots of things like lots of people think Buffalo, snow, cold bills, chicken wings.

But other than the bar food, which is fantastic and the massive number of breweries, which is also fantastic, if you’re into beer we have a vibrant music culture. Rick James was born here and all of the members of his band were from Buffalo. The go dolls are from Buffalo.

We’re not as proud of that. , there’s lots of great stuff that you can do. Buffalo is a cosmopolitan mass massive city. We’ve got, houses built, by by Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ve got, architecture built by the same guy who designed central park, the whole Olmstead park system.

We have leftovers from the 1901 pan American exposition, Tom or Teddy [00:42:00] Roosevelt was inaugurated in Buffalo. Mostly cuz the last guy got shot at that same pan American exposition that I may have mentioned earlier. But there’s so many beautiful and wonderful things in Buffalo that you should really come see it.

Give it a try, come for a weekend, check it out, go on the mafia tour, go on the architecture tour. Check out the city hall. You’ll be like, Hey, that looks like mine because Buffalo city hall is the template, the mold for so many city halls across the us, especially through throughout the Midwest. And it’s just like a 1920s, thirties, our deco thing, but beautiful city right on a lake.

And a lot of people just think we get a lot of snow and we have a very bad football.

Sean C. Davis: Yeah. That’s I feel like that’s accurate.

PJ Hagerty: That’s the perception. That’s, it’s not, yeah, it’s not incorrect, but it’s also not all that we have to offer.

Sean C. Davis: And now I feel like I’m adding Buffalo to my got a visit list.

PJ Hagerty: Do it, come on up. We’ll go get wings.

Sean C. Davis: Fantastic. Fantastic. Okay. Actually number four is I felt like something that I thought we were gonna get into and we didn’t, so I’m glad I wrote it down and it is how does music make you better at your [00:43:00] job?

PJ Hagerty: Oh okay. So this is, there’s a complicated answer. So being a programmer programming, as we know, we talked about this earlier.

Programming is math. Music is also math. I have a brain that leans towards those things. I listen to music constantly. Like it’s, even if I don’t have music playing it’s in my head the rhythm of it, the pattern of it is part of what informed me as a developer to say okay, so this is how, the same way that like any pop song is B a, B, C, B.

The that’s the way programming works. That’s the way essentially building a website where it’s oh, we need this part of the stack. This part of the stack, this part of the stack, this part of the stack. That’s how we’ll put it together. There’s nothing that I’ve ever done throughout my life without doing it with music.

That said music is also like a common language that brings people together. I’ve been lucky enough in my career to travel all over the world. I’ve hit five continents like 38 different countries 40 of our 50 states. It’s pretty great. And every, I’ll walk in and I’ll have a t-shirt on that says, like Sunday, real estate and someone in, in Berlin will be like, Hey, oh my God, Sunday, real estate love that [00:44:00] band.

And it’s cool. Like now we have a connection based on something that happened in 1990. A band that came out and made two albums, like it just, it’s such a beautiful way to connect people. And you’re able to make reference to those things, in, in what you do, music will bring you back to a space.

It will help you do things. There’s also, the Moza artifact, which doesn’t require Mozart. And we’ll talk about this years ago. But it can actually build and give you cognitive boosts. So listen to music, start with instrumental music, listen to instrumental music while you’re working.

You’ll see an improvement.

Sean C. Davis: Yeah. Interesting. And I feel similar about all of those things. You said it the one that, the part that stood out was programming and music, both being math. And that really resonates with me because I feel like I’m I’ve been playing guitar for probably 15 years or so, and I’m not amazing, but I’m pretty decent and I’ve played live and all that.

And and yet I constantly think I can’t. Like I don’t, I still don’t really have an ear for it. I can, I don’t have any confidence in really even being able to [00:45:00] tune the guitar by ear. I always using in some other device, it’s how did I get good at this thing? When I can’t actually totally hear the nuance of what I’m doing?

And I think it’s because I always called it sense. I’m like I learned the science of this. I know where my finger needs to go and what sound that’s gonna produce. And it works. And so I’m like, I took this non-artistic way to learn it and then turn it into an art. I don’t

PJ Hagerty: It’s really good for you for that.

No, I my, my youngest has a very good friend who plays piano and he has never been to a rock concert in his. And he has never really gone to see live music, but he, because he understood the math and the mechanics of playing the piano, he’s a brilliant pianist. And he can site read like you wouldn’t believe because that’s, that’s essentially what it is.

The idea of site reading and playing music and, looking at stack overflow and understanding how to extrapolate something outta that and write your code. That’s the same thing. Yeah, you don’t look at the same way. And for me that’s, it’s very, like when I code I often code in a very seemingly random haphazard counter wild west [00:46:00] cowboy way, which nobody who codes with me appreciates.

But that’s also the way that like I write and do music. Like I, I learned to play drums when I was six years. I used to know how to read drum notation. I can still make it out, but I can’t site read anymore. What I play is by feel, I play guitar by, by ear. I play piano by ear. I play base by ear.

I just know what fits and where it’s supposed to go. That comes from the fact that I’ve been doing this for 40 plus years. Like you, you mentioned I know people that have been playing guitar for 20 years and 30 years and they still can’t get past the mechanical and that’s okay.

You just keep making the effort. It’s I guess like people who like golf, which is not me they talk about the fact, like no one ever gets good at golf. You just keep playing it. And there’s there’s the same idea. There’s a whole mechanical component there that I don’t understand at all. That my body just won’t do.

And, but you can try to improve and you look at it and you can stream and do your arms like this, and you can completely mimic the way that tiger woods or somebody [00:47:00] plays golf. But you won’t be playing golf like tiger woods. You can totally mimic how Jimmy Hendricks plays guitar, but you’re not gonna be Jimmy Hendricks.

And that’s, it’s not to say I’m not trying to gatekeeper and say there thing. It’s just a matter of, there’s certain things that click and there’s certain ways that people play instruments or hear music in a different way. That creates a common language, but not the same language. It’s not monotonous.

It’s a different experience for everybody, but we can all enjoy it. That’s the thing.

Sean C. Davis: Yes. Yes. And that’s the point? That’s the point? Exactly. Exactly. Okay. Number five. So you studied computer science in college and I talked about it a little bit, but many folks looking to break into the industry.

Aren’t, they’re not going through the formal process. So what advice would you have for folks trying to break

PJ Hagerty: in, but don’t want to go. Oh, I would, she, it, this is gonna be one of those Def it depends answers. If you can go to a bootcamp, go to a bootcamp, do it. I know that’s not financially viable for everyone.

Some boot camps. I, if you’re looking into them, some of them do have financial [00:48:00] assistance. Some of them are accredited as schools. So you can actually go there and get a financial assistance that they will help you find a job afterwards. Some are less credible. Definitely look deeply into it. Before you go to a bootcamp, if you cannot afford a boot.

Go online. There are lots of free resources online. There’s lots that you can take basic programming in almost any language on lots of different platforms. You can. Ruby, we were talking about Ruby earlier. Try Ruby is still a thing. Try I think it is. You can still go there and it’ll teach you the basics of Ruby.

Are you gonna be a programmer after that for no, you’re not. But you will understand whether this is something you like, something you wanna continue with. If it interests you there’s lots of books find your way of learning, figure out what that is and go after that. If you can do classroom, if you can’t do classroom fine.

If you have a little bit of money, go out, buy a book make sure it’s recent. That’s one thing that I know that some people that I work with in underrepresented communities, they go and get a book at the library, but that book is 10 years old. And learning PHP four, probably isn’t super [00:49:00] that important right now.

So make sure that when you’re looking at books, especially from libraries, make sure there’s something that is more modern, more recent. If it’s theory, that’s fine. Most of the theories are still the same. If it’s about a language specifically, then definitely make sure you get the updates.

The other big key to getting involved is to actually do the thing, actually do the job. I mentioned this earlier, if you wanna get into open source and you’re interested in a project, go read the documentation and then fix it. You’ll learn about source control. You’ll learn about, get you’ll learn about the project itself.

You’ll be able to grammatically fix this. I worked with Matt most for a while. Their biggest number of contributors is people who translate, which is just adding words to a database so that you can use the application across different languages. There’s 102 different languages that you could have matter most in including right to left translations.

Cuz someone built that most of those people entered through helping write documentation and that’s that’s a super, super easy entry point for people.

Sean C. Davis: That’s. Yeah, I was just [00:50:00] having a conversation about that yesterday. Yeah. Even writing docs or yeah. Writing great way to break

PJ Hagerty: into open source.

Exactly. Exactly. And then, that’s a, it’s a good way cuz when, what you realize is oh, I’m writing the documentation, but I’m also learning how this language works or this project. I know how it goes. So now I can start contributing actual code to it. Exactly.

Sean C. Davis: Yes. Okay. Number six.

Describe your favorite hat.

PJ Hagerty: Ooh, my favorite hat. My favorite hat would probably be a black Derby with a red or like brownish red band with a little feather on the side. I don’t have one. I’ve had it on my Christmas wishlist for about 20 years. No one will buy me one because it would look really stupid if I got one.

But it would look a little too, my lady and I don’t really wanna give off that vibe, but still those hats are cool. Like they look really cool. If I could get like a full, like three piece suit with a watch chain and everything, I would need to get that hat immediately.


Sean C. Davis: That’s a yeah. Fair point. I also love that you answered with the hat that you

PJ Hagerty: don’t have that’s yeah, the that’s very good. It’s the grail of hats.

Sean C. Davis: You have to [00:51:00] have a, something that you’re aspiring to, right? Exactly.

PJ Hagerty: Exactly. I, what are we doing? Yeah, I have 27 variations on different baseball caps.

For lack of a better term, I have some Peaky hats, kinda the Peaky blinders, cabby hats. I have a, for a wedding that I went to during the summer where I wore a a, what was it called? I don’t know. One of those fancy, like suits that you wear in Panama. I had a Panama hat. But when it really comes down to it, I want that brown Derby.

That’s the way.

Sean C. Davis: Fair. That’s fair. Glad you know what you want. Number seven, what’s the next concert you’re going to attend

PJ Hagerty: the next concert. I am going to attend to my knowledge. I think if I have my dates, correct, I’m going to see Wang and NAZ in Inga falls in Ohio. Oh, okay.

Sean C. Davis: That’s in that’s oh yeah.

That’s that? What’s the, is that the name of the venue? I was trying

PJ Hagerty: to think. Oh, is it yeah, no, I think that’s, I don’t know the name of the venue. I know that the tours called the New York stated mine tour. But okay.

Sean C. Davis: Oh, it’s a blossom, right? Blossom music song. Yes. Yes. That’s the one. That’s [00:52:00] the one.

Yeah. Yes. Okay. That’s a, that is a really great place to

PJ Hagerty: watch a show. I love that. Yeah. I’m looking forward to it. I’m slightly afraid that it’s gonna be like, oh, cool. Everybody got old. Awesome. That’s great. but I, you don’t have these opportunities every day. It’s true.

Sean C. Davis: I’m great venue.

Last time I went the downside was Everyone there at, I, it may have changed, but at that time there was only one road out. And so people filtered in occasionally, but then it took two hours

PJ Hagerty: to get outta the parking lot, which is, yeah. I feel like I used to be a big, hockey fan here in Buffalo.

I’m used to that. Our hockey arena is directly downtown in the center of downtown. So you think it would have, oh yeah, but like they built parking lots all around it and then a hotel. So it’s oh, so we have two streets and one of them has a train ride it. Cool.

Sean C. Davis: Okay. Yeah. That’s good.

And it’s

PJ Hagerty: all part of the experience, right? Yeah. It’s that way your ears can come down and you can have a normal conversation, the car on the way home.

Sean C. Davis: Perfect. Yes. Okay. Number eight. What is the single most important piece of advice that you would give someone who is trying to build a community today?[00:53:00]

PJ Hagerty: Single most important piece of advice you need to go to the community? The community does not come. . So while you’re talking about building a community, that’s great. You need to be a good citizen in a community, a good participant in a community. It doesn’t matter what that community is. If it’s a language, Ruby, Python go Java, JavaScript, they all have communities that you should be a part of participate.

Learn from that in that you build a sub community in that community, around your product or project or thing that you’re excited about. If you wanna build a community, go and be a participant in the community that you wanna see

Sean C. Davis: that number nine. Okay. I did this one last week and I like it so much.

I felt like I would bring it over. This is a it’s elaborate. This is a

PJ Hagerty: four parter ready? Okay. All right.

Sean C. Davis: If you could take anybody to lunch. It’s gotta be lunch person can be alive or not. Here we go. One. Who would it be? Two. Where would you take them? Three. What would you order? And four, what would [00:54:00] you, what topic would you bring up first?

PJ Hagerty: okay. Wow. That I was not ready for this, Sean. I was not ready for this question at all. This was a little too elaborate for this session. Who would I bring? What I’d bring prince oh, I feel like that would be a super interesting lunch to have. Where would I take him to the terrace in Delaware park, which is this great restaurant at the casino in Delaware park here in Buffalo, it’s across from the Albright Knox art museum and it’s above Delaware lakes.

You beautiful views. And the food’s really good. What would we order? Probably the Nashville style fried chicken poboy which is a great sandwich. It’s on baguette. It’s actual fried chicken. It’s not chicken tenders or something like that. It’s literally a fried chicken breast with a great new Orleans style remade delicious.

What would I bring up first? Whew. What do you ask prince? You have the opportunity yeah, that’s the question. Given the opportunity. How far would you have gone? How many more albums? How many more songs? How far would you push the industry? [00:55:00] It’s a

Sean C. Davis: good topic with a, yeah, I could go a lot of ways that

PJ Hagerty: conversation.

Yeah. Yeah.

Sean C. Davis: okay. Number 10 if you can remember You, so you worked in, I think was in college. You were a DJ for WB. N Y I was. Yeah.

PJ Hagerty: all right. You really looked this

Sean C. Davis: stuff up. I found this last night and I was thinking, what song were you playing on? Repeat during

PJ Hagerty: those years? Oh, wow. I would say that one of the songs I was playing on repeat probably was cuz I was trying to get a new generation of people into some things that are a little bit older.

Would’ve been circles by Sunday, real estate in circles. Along with the, any track off of something right home about by the get up kids. Okay. I’d probably also be slipping in. I know you wanted one answer, but I can’t do that. It’s okay. It’s alright. Slipping in anything off of you’d prefer an astronaut by.

Especially the song. I like your hair long and a little bit of this little known band called ke Creek from ke Creek Kansas. They had the album [00:56:00] called st. Valentine’s garage. That was probably one of the best examples of why emo became emo amazing guitar driven rock with duplicated vocals, masters of the loud soft dynamic play.

Just absolutely brilliant. They had a couple other albums after that, like many years after that, but to Creek St. Valentine’s garage, I think it came out like 1993. And it’s still now I listened to at least once a year to this day. Wow.

Sean C. Davis: Okay. That’s a, that’s, I feel like. That’s like the highest praise you can get as a musician, 30 years later is yeah, you’re still being listened to.

And there’s so much music at our disposal

PJ Hagerty: today. Exactly. Stream streaming is great. I still buy albums and I still listen to them, but streaming is great because sometimes you’re just like, Hey, remember that one song and you can find it. Yep, absolutely.

Sean C. Davis: Yes. Hundred percent. Okay. 11 number 11. Very last one.

This is always my last one. It’s my second favorite question behind what is the best sandwich? And it [00:57:00] is what is the worst mistake that you’ve made as a developer?

PJ Hagerty: Oh, I can tell that one. So back in the days that job that I was talking about, where we were moving visual Foxborough, Ruby, we had reached the point where one of our products was about to be released the first rails version of it going live January two.

I wanted to say like 2008 or something like that. Crunch time, maybe skimming some things on the side, not doing great, ran a command as we put it into production, like the second ver sub version of it. We put it into production and I dropped the entire database. No, 200,000 students and instructors.

Do you have a backup disappeared? Sure. Didn’t cuz this was way pre-cloud. So yeah what we did have a backup, but what we had to do is basically re-import everything from the original. Luckily it’d only been like three hours since we, we kicked out the original version, so there wasn’t much lost.

But, oh my goodness. If you ever need a lesson to learn why you write tests for your [00:58:00] code? This is it dropping an entire database because you wrote a query. We’ll haunt you for the rest of your

Sean C. Davis: life. Oh, so this wasn’t like a one time queer query. You wrote it was something pro something programmatic.

Yeah. This was, yeah. An

PJ Hagerty: abstraction in Ruby to clean up the idea, was it supposed to get rid of all of the pre-production data? Like all the sandbox data that we had in there? Yeah. Okay. And it should not have made it to production because every 24 hours it would just kick off and drop the database and rebuild it so that we could start over with clean stuff.

And yeah, that wasn’t so great. That was that was the scariest three hours. Like I’m sitting there coding, I’m like, I’m gonna lose my I’m gonna lose my fucking job. We’re gonna be poor. I’m gonna be homeless. This is bad. This is bad. And my partner go like, how did we miss this? Oh my God. I can’t believe we’re gonna be homeless.

And we’re sitting there just terrified. But yeah, but you know what? We’ve been best friends since then. It does build relationships, turmoil and trauma tends to stick people together. Hundred

Sean C. Davis: percent. And I can relate to that feeling just like [00:59:00] cold sweats. Why can I just command Z?

The thing that I just did? No. Is there an

PJ Hagerty: undue for Postgres?

Sean C. Davis: Nope, but it’s the next day or more of my life fixing this and exactly a lot more than that. Feeling bad about

PJ Hagerty: it. yeah. Luckily we found out after the fact that not many people had started using it because it was still early January and most schools had not gotten back in session yet, so it went unnoticed.

Okay. But at the same time, like if even one person noticed it, would’ve been our jobs on the line. Yeah.

Sean C. Davis: That’s I imagine you didn’t do it again,

PJ Hagerty: right? No, definitely learned about making sure your code is clean before putting in production.

Sean C. Davis: Yes, it’s good to, it’s good to learn lessons a hard way sometimes,

PJ Hagerty: yeah. It’s why I have such a huge respect for CI like continuous integration. Those are important tools. Make them part of your tool belt.

Sean C. Davis: Definitely. And I, so I didn’t really, this is off topic and then we’ll wrap up, but I didn’t really get into no, what’s the right way to say this.

I forget which book I read to get into Ruby, [01:00:00] but I think it might have been Mike hard’s book and I think that name, I think that’s the right name and it was, so it was so driven or like test driven development, the whole thing. And I was like, I’m just trying to learn this. I do.

I am not gonna write tests. And that was really big in those days. Write tests before you write the code. And I, it slowed me down so much as a beginner that I despised writing tests for a few years, had a very short situation. did a few stupid things and now I, and then I feel like I came back, but not all the way.

It’s I’m not gonna write ’em first, but I’m gonna write ’em and I’m not gonna cover everything, but I’m gonna cover the important things. And now I feel like I have this really great relationship with

PJ Hagerty: testing and CI. Yeah. That’s what I, that’s what I like to call shame driven development.

You’re ready. Not yes. That when the next developer comes along oh yeah. They wrote test. They wrote test it’s. We’re good. We’re fine.

Sean C. Davis: Yes. Yes. Oh, shame driven development. That’s I love that one. Okay. TJ, thanks so much for being here. This was a really fun hour.

PJ Hagerty: Appreciate it.

Yeah. Thank you for having me. I [01:01:00] appreciate it. This was a good.

Sean C. Davis: Absolutely. Now, before we go, why don’t you you can take a minute to tell the, both the listeners and the viewers, how to get in touch with you if they wanna chat and feel free to give a quick plug to anything else that you’re working on.

PJ Hagerty: Sure. If you wanna get ahold of me, I am on Twitter at splenic as S P L E N I C, cuz I don’t have a spleen. There’s a whole story behind that, but we don’t have time for it. You can always find out what I’m doing. at Deely IO on Twitter. I’m around feel free to reach out.

I’ll talk to anybody. I love chatting and hanging out with people, talking about technology. My big thing is always, technology from the anthropological perspective technology are, is tools that we build to make humans lives easier. So let’s focus on that a little bit more and less on the productization and the monetization of these things.

Let’s focus on what actually makes our lives easier. But yeah, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to chat. Wonderful.

Sean C. Davis: All right. And for those of you in the audience and listening in, we will be back live on May 19th with [01:02:00] Eduardo from Netlify and that’s again, it’s 1:00 PM Eastern time in the United States or 5:00 PM GMT.

So from, thank you all for joining us for this, for the show. Thank you, PJ. And we will see you next time.

PJ Hagerty: Thanks so much.