Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

A weekly podcast discussing the business of great software products. Hosted by Ben Orenstein and a rotating panel of fellow developers and entrepreneurs, we delve deep behind the scenes of thoughtbot's SaaS products.

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    228: Start in Beginner Mode

    Derrick travels to Portland to visit fellow bootstrapper friends, Ben recounts his recent conference travel, and a discussion of their most pivotal hires as well as account rescue techniques.

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    227: We Don't Do Fractional Pennies

    Derrick celebrates a great shipping week, completing both 'live segments' and a Drip certification course. Ben recounts the rollout & results of the Upcase + Tapas promotion, and reflects on its successes and possible pitfalls.

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    226: There Are So Many Edge-Cases

    Ben presses to meet the Upcase & Tapas launch deadline, and shares some lessons learned from its preparation, promotion, and launch. On Drip, Derrick rolls out more UI updates, is looking to hire JavaScript and Rails engineers, and details his hiring & interview process.

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    225: Abuse the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

    Ben halts the search for a marketer to instead hire a sales consultant and focus on growth himself, and announces a collaboration with Ruby Tapas. Derrick enrolls in a machine learning class, and contemplates Drip team & work structure.

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    224: Sharpen Your Saw

    Derrick takes a solo retreat to reflect on new goals for Drip, and draws up preliminary plans for scaling team size / structure, as well as speeding up velocity through parallelism. Ben shares his experience with GrowthHackers Projects, hides the lowest plan and implements an automated annual upgrade reminder, pitches a content partnership for Upcase, considers a thoughtbot products bundle, and realizes a need for a mentor.

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    223: Work Deterrent System

    Ben & Derrick discuss music in the workplace, optimizing Redis, reaching larger markets beyond early adopters, and standing out in job application e-mails.

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    222: Honesty Bait

    Derrick considers learning a new language to be prepared for scaling Drip's optimization, and gives new details on the tech used to streamline queries for large accounts. Ben breaks down his post to finding the best candidate for product Head of Marketing, and pointers on developing an entrepreneur's mindset.

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    221: Power in Mimicry

    Ben discusses the lessons of mimicked learning and tempering of judgmental thinking gleaned from a sports book, and muses on how to apply them to career advice. On Drip, faced with a mountain of catch-up work after the holiday, Derek confronts scalability.

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    220: Goin' Legit (For 2017)

    Ben decides to hire a support firm, document support processes, completes the Hound pricing change, and prepares to make products their own division for next year. Meanwhile, on Drip, Derrick addresses a performance challenge.

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    219: Rails' Sidekick (Mike Perham)

    Ben is joined by Mike Perham, author of Sidekiq, to discuss running a business solo, taking a side project from hobby to full time job, and scaling support as an app grows.

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    218: A Spark of Inspiration

    On Drip, Derrick launches a free tier, and utilizes credit card anti-fraud measures. Ben publicly launches FormLinter, pauses exploring new product ideas in favor of giving attention to existing ones, and starts to rebuild the product team. They also discuss the merits of remote vs in-person collaboration, the pros and cons of open offices, and dealing with interruptions from notifications and meetings.

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    217: The Object Object Object

    Ben and Nick get super nerdy this week and chat about Meetspace's architecture using Go, Postgres, and HMAC including custom cookie signing, rendering, error handling, tooling, and more!

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    216: The One With Laila & Brenda

    Sadly, Ben is stuck in hammock somewhere, and we are without a new episode this week. However, we would love you all to check out thoughtbot's newest podcast, interviewing inspirational designers, developers, and other makers in tech, The Laila & Brenda Show!

    Give their latest episode a listen here, and if you like it subscribe to their feed however you listen to podcasts!

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    213: Madness Free

    Derrick finds some new areas to improve after walking new hires through Drip's architecture, and discusses his custom billing engine. On Hound, Ben delegates the new-pricing project, and validates a new product idea.

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    212: Good Enough, Namaste

    Derrick brings a few more new hires onto the team, and ships a change to make clients' Javascript snippets more performant. On Hound, Ben does some direct outreach sales, considers bringing on someone to help with marketing, and muses on the balancing act between product manager, developer, and marketing.

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    211: Battle Hardened Over Time

    On Hound, Ben sends out announcements for pricing changes, questions when a decision is the "right" decision when it comes to customer feedback, and toys with per-seat pricing model feasibility. Derrick has a successful first week on-boarding the new dev-ops hire, offers Ben some advice on balancing features with price, and discusses some customer acquisition campaigns.

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    210: s/Walden/Andover

    Ben plans a camping trip, acquires a new Twitter account, releases his notes on giving great conference talks, and begins to tell users of Hound's new pricing. Derrick reacts to the announcement of Github Projects and what that means for Codetree, ships the new form design on Drip, and muses on the ramifications to Google's announced penalizing of intrusive mobile pop-ups.

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    209: Playlist Driven Development

    On Drip, Derrick deals with a high-bandwidth customer and hires a new devops team member. Meanwhile, Ben brainstorms new pricing structures for Hound.

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    208: Efficiency Starts With a Haircut

    Derrick switches domains from getdrip.com to drip.co, begins to update the design of the Drip widget, and tries to find balance in his varying roles as CTO. Ben hands off the reins of Upcase, switches to a low-tech project management solution, and mixes work and personal todos.

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    207: Database & Queue are Dirty Words (Derrick Reimer)

    Ben welcomes guest co-host Derrick Reimer, co-founder of Drip, getting to know his background and products for our first outside-thoughtbot view on SaaS strategy (as well as Ben's arm-twisty methods for getting him on the podcast in the first place)!

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    206: I'm Glad We Talked About This (Chad Pytel)

    thoughtbot CEO Chad Pytel joins Ben to discuss our recent office closings and reasons necessitating this decision, what this means for the product team, and the future of thoughtbot. Also, a teaser of what to expect next from Giant Robots Podcast.

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    205: Bottling Calm

    Fresh back from vacation, Ben shifts his attention to a Hound project, adding in tiered plans and pricing. Chris begins to build out a drip sequence for content recommendations, prepares to roll off to return to client work, and leaves us with some final reflections, takeaways, and lessons learned while on Upcase.

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    204: Disinclined, For Simplicity's Sake

    Chris delves into marketing mode for the TDD course, removes more client-side analytics code, and starts redesigning the information architecture on Upcase. On FormKeep, Ben alerts users to site down-time, removes all pay-per-form logic from the codebase, and begins to set up trials sans credit-card.

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    203: Worry Beads on Business Chains

    Ben receives some insight on customer referrals for FormKeep, applies his pricing philosophy to Hound, and realizes a personal blind-spot when it comes to customer satisfaction. On Upcase, Chris patches an automated follow-up messaging bug leading to enhanced focus on server-side analytics, welcomes Tyson to the team to begin work on trail mapping course content, and soft launches the Fundamentals of TDD trail.

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    202: A Full 360

    Ben rants about bad jokes on twitter, doesn't ship any improved activation features on FormKeep this week, irons out some bugs on FormLinter, and begins an ad campaign. Chris contemplates shifting Upcase's business model, and walks through the impetus driving this decision.

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    201: The Difficulty is in Focusing

    Ben encounters a downed FormKeep and enables a monitoring service, completes the un-grandfathering process for accounts on old tiers, and begins work on improving activation flow. Chris sends out a survey to users and discovers a shift in the Upcase demographics.

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    200: Summertime Sadness

    Chris digs into the causes for a MRR drop, discovering usage trends with seasonality; and in the process gets a clearer picture of Upcase's user base. Also, he welcome Geoff to the project, and begins a new marketing initiative driven by user testimonials. Ben welcomes Tyson onto team Formkeep to begin redesigning on boarding, and continues FormLinter improvements / marketing.

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    199: Heartening Frustration

    This week, we ruminate on the meta-organization of project management. Ben embraces team feedback on FormLinter.com, reaches the end of Formkeep's grandfathered pricing window, and removes sandboxing to streamline plan structures. Chris contemplates Upcase's role as a product within thoughtbot, prepares to welcome on new team members (bye Gabe!), and restructures topic relationships to improve discoverability. Also, the return of Dance Talk!

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    198: Nailing Down the Why

    On Formkeep, Ben launches FormLinter to increase form accessibility and conversions, and looks forward to additional persons on thoughtbot product work. Chris continues marketing of the Bourbon Smash course, wrestles with metrics and analytics, and improves team logins on Upcase.

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    197: An Engine That Throws Off Money

    On Upcase, Chris releases the Bourbon course, restructures how new courses are highlighted, and discusses juggling the various factors that contribute to MRR. Ben takes on-boarding notes from a century old dance school to improve activation on Formkeep.

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    196: Anecdotal Driven Development

    Ben changes product activation flow, possibly for the worse, launches a new UI, and muses on new customer acquisition for Formkeep. On Upcase, Chris starts to see benefits from the domain transition, and brainstorms on how to un-bottleneck course releases.

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    195: The Storm Before the Calm

    Ben delays a new feature until an easier implementation can be reached, adds additional event tracking for better site usage feedback, takes a medium to large digression to rant about Javascript, and makes headway on Formkeep's UI refactor. On Upcase, Chris steps back from the content spotlight, takes a hit to traffic from the domain transition, and tests all things email.

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    194: Changing Your Internet Home

    Chris transitions Upcase to thoughtbot.com/upcase for SEO and branding purposes, and introduces reactivate & resubscribe functionality. Ben publishes a blog post on Formkeep's pricing history, optimizes the initial form setup page, and begins work to implement a no credit card up-front trial.

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    193: This Episode Has Been Brought to You By the Letter 'S'

    Ben switches from Mandrill to Sendgrid, turns a corner on his guarantee vs trial test, and begins the process of overhauling Formkeep's UI. Meanwhile, on Upcase, Chris utilizes an interesting method for A/B Testing, teases a secret project, and increases SEO by changing out the header.

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    192: The High End of Reasonable

    Ben and Chris muse on the nature of weather-related happiness. Also, Ben works on instrumenting Formkeep's activation funnel, utilizes a monitoring utility to optimize sign-up flow, and vows to almost certainly not toy with pricing any more. Meanwhile on Upcase, Chris confronts multiple root causes for a dip in MRR, updates content displays, and overhauls the checkout.

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    191: I've Done it Once, I'm an Expert

    Ben and Chris discuss taxes and financial (as well as bedtime) routines. On Upcase, Chris showcases "The Weekly Iteration" on the site, reveals a long-term dream for the platform, and patches a critical security issue. Ben adds a bunch of features to cut down on support requests, does some UX cleanup, and performs other general tasks to improve usability on Formkeep.

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    190: An Unkempt Backlog

    Chris makes progress on Upcase's to-dos in order to shift focus to after-the-funnel improvements, and makes a renewed vow to talk to customers for direct feedback. Meanwhile, Ben attends a conference, and while he picked up some great strategies for Formkeep on-boarding, he mostly just wants to fix the airline industry.

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    189: Swimming Against a Stream of Complexity

    Chris keeps improving MRR on Upcase, patches a Javascript problem with a Javascript solution, and implements benefit focused text on course descriptions. On Formkeep, Ben discovers a flaw in an A/B test, deals with squirrely payment code, and prepares for a conference talk.

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    188: I Have a Spreadsheet!

    Ben decides to A/B test pricing, begins grandfathering existing customers to the new tiers, teases new features on Formkeep, and recounts some interesting customer interactions. Meanwhile, Chris drives conversions through e-mail and Twitter, identifies unique customer segments, and brings in more of the thoughtbot voice to Upcase.

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    187: Missed You!

    Chris welcomes a new member to team Upcase, confronts a drop in MRR, and looks forward to increased content production. On Formkeep, Ben introduces tiered pricing and trials, considers tier differentiators, and muses on what next to implement.

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    185: The Funnel is Just the Beginning (Lincoln Murphy)

    Ben welcomes SaaS growth and customer success pioneer Lincoln Murphy to discuss the true importance of providing value to existing customers and focusing on their success, as every tactic you undertake as a business is predicated on understanding their desired outcome. He also delves into how focusing on customer type is beneficial for both consumers and producers, as well as gives Ben some feedback about Formkeep.

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    184: I Love You, Businesses!

    Ben accidentally launches a Vim course, debates a B2B vs B2C focus, and feels out different Formkeep pricing tiers. Chris welcomes back a handful of former subscribers to Upcase, continues to work on content production, and integrates relevant content into broader thoughtbot docs.

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    183: Embarrassing Trailing White-Space

    Chris converts with email campaigns, lays out a time-table to churn out a ton of content, and tries to analyze a dip in revenue. Meanwhile, Ben tests the definition of what constitutes a "conference", focuses on how to enrich Formkeep for specific use cases, and makes headway on tiered pricing.

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    182: The Weight of Javascript

    Ben finalizes Formkeep's Ember removal, toys with the idea of manual on boarding, and positions himself to begin experimenting with plans and pricing. Meanwhile, Chris deals with credit card fraud, too many inodes on Upcase's server, and finishes the changes required to offer free videos.

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    180: We Don't Deal With Paper

    Chris gets a surprise while reviewing Upcase's Q4 profit & loss statement, gains some insight into e-mail marketing, wrestles with the added complexity of adding github auth-to-access, and brainstorms new community-driven projects. Meanwhile, Ben gets his hands dirty with Formkeep's Ember removal, is tempted by the siren's call of distraction, and gets an open review from the Bootstrapped Web podcast. Also, Chris does a live user-test of Formkeep's new user activation flow.

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    179: It's Tough to Iterate on Nothing

    Ben resolves to cut back on dashboard checkins, makes progress on Formkeep's Ember extraction, and struggles with product-market fit. Meanwhile, Chris tackles some analytics issues, opens up Upcase landing pages from behind the paywall to improve marketing and SEO, and steps up his marketing and social-media game.

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    178: No-one Wants Form End-Points for Christmas

    Ben and Chris both struggle with cancelations coming into the new year, Formkeep continues to strip out Ember and focus on content marketing, and Upcase resolves a major issue in the exercise system and improves the checkout flow.

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    177: I Forgot There Would Be Follow-On Tasks

    Chris tracks new members after the release of the new Mastering Git course from Upcase, launches a drip e-mail campaign to attract more members, and focuses on increased content output. Ben continues removing Ember from Formkeep, rethinks an activation sequence A/B test, conducts user tests to improve the checkout flow, and adopts a mindset of continuous improvement.

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    176: The Pricing is Right

    As Ben transitions from Upcase to Formkeep, so too will the podcast transition to an open discussion around growing thoughtbot's internal projects and maintaining them as businesses, highlighting our hopes, experiments, tactics, failures, and success along the way! Today Ben and new co-host Chris discuss finding that magic feature or metric around which to structure pricing, selecting the right framework for your app, and customer acquisition tactics.

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    174: Building Character (Laura Roeder)

    Ben and Laura Roeder, founder of Edgar, chat about anthropomorphizing your brand to build better engagement, going the extra step to care about customer success, and some tips for social media marketing best practices.

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    173: Obsessed With Helping (Hiten Shah)

    Ben talks with Hiten Shah, co-founder of Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics, on the value of helping others, frameworks for a better life, being an infovore, and tips for finding a successful product niche.

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    172: Go After the Hard Stuff (Eric Normand)

    Ben and Eric Normand of LispCast and PurelyFunctional.tv talk about the pros and cons of Haskell and Clojure, empathize on some of the pain points of running an educational coding platform, and hypothesize on how the next great programming "killer demo" will present itself.

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    171: Always Be Hustling (Steli Efti)

    Ben talks with Steli Efti, CEO and Co-founder of Close.io, on maintaining energy and passion in speaking, why engineers make great sales people (and how they can be even better), and managing your emotions to be more productive and happy.

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    170: Make Things People Want (C. Todd Lombardo & Trace Wax)

    Chad talks with C. Todd Lombardo & Trace Wax about their new book, co-authored with Richard Banfield, Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products, as well as the process and benefits of design sprints.

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    168: 'Unpronounceable' (Star Simpson)

    Chad Pytel and Laila Winner welcome Star Simpson to discuss PLIBMTTBHGATY (Programming Languages I’ve Been Meaning To Try But Haven’t Gotten Around To Yet), fostering community through meet-ups, and the finer points of taco delivery via drone.

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    167: A Place For Both (Brenda Storer)

    Ben talks with thoughtbot designer Brenda Storer on fitting both development and design in her job title, tips for public speaking, and introduces a new change to the show.

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    166: Refactoring Health Care (John Norman)

    Ben talks with John Norman about his process and modified approach to the delivery, payment, and tech of modern managed health care. They also touch on age bias in the programming world, living a purpose-driven life, and dealing with startup growth.

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    165: Everyone's Welcome Here (Adam Stacoviak & Jerod Santo)

    Ben talks with Adam & Jerod of The Changelog Podcast to discuss their personal interviewing modalities, doing full-time media creation, and a new video project aimed to explore the actual people behind your programming heroes.

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    164: Transcribing at 260 wpm (Mirabai Knight)

    Ben talks with Mirabai Knight about the technology and uses of modern stenography; including using steno with Vim, and her work on Plover, the open source Steno engine.

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    162: Literal Giant Robots (Brinkley Warren)

    Ben is joined by Brinkley Warren of MegaBots Inc. to discuss the history, build, and strategy behind the MegaBot Mk II, USA's entrant in next years giant robot duel!

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    161: Listen to Your Users (Jules Coleman)

    Ben and Jules Coleman, founder of Hassle, discuss staying close to the codebase while in a more managerial role, the challenges of rapid growth, and the value of internalizing feedback.

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    159: Falling Out of Love With Haskell (Mike Burns)

    Ben and fellow thoughtbotter Mike Burns take time out of their Summer Summit schedule to chat about launching offices, the art of classical code, and why Mike no longer loves Haskell.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    158: Producing...Stuff (Thom Obarski)

    Ben is joined by trepidatious producer, Thom Obarski, to talk all things media at thoughtbot, compare working in tech to entertainment environments, and bestow some beginner advice on starting one's own podcast.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    157: Between Frustration and Enlightenment (Tom Stuart)

    Ben is joined by Tom Stuart to talk about incorporating computer science topics into Ruby, his process of preparing talks, enriching your development career with a bit of computer science knowledge, and gushing about how amazing computers truly are.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    156: It Has to be Valuable (Steve Tooke)

    Ben is joined by Steve Tooke to discuss the importance of communication, testing, and building Cucumber 2.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    155: CTO Duties (Joe Ferris)

    Ben welcomes Joe Ferris, thoughtbot's CTO, to discuss design parity within the company, inversion of control, and solving all the world's problems with monads.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    154: Do it Right the First Time (Samir Talwar)

    Ben and Samir Talwar of Codurance discuss the appeal of functional programming, mob programming, and a different take on conferences.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    153: Auld Lang Syne (Chad Pytel)

    As Giant Robots nears its 3 year anniversary, Ben welcomes back Chad Pytel to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year at thoughtbot.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    151: Open By Default (Aidan Feldman)

    Ben discusses consulting and open source from within the government, as well as choosing the right clients, and the value of mentorship, with Aidan Feldman of 18F.

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    148: We All Want to be Heard (Rebecca Miller-Webster)

    Ben talks with Rebecca Miller-Webster, Managing Director of thoughtbot Chicago, on beginners contributing to open-source, organizing conferences, and cultivating a more inclusive culture.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    147: Cry Through it, and Keep Typing (Saron Yitbarek)

    Ben welcomes on Saron Yitbarek to talk about creating communities that foster learning and niceness; as well as getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and how confronting that discomfort can ultimately lead to success.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    146: Ready For the Real World (Shelby Kelly)

    Ben and Shelby Kelly discuss teaching at a coding bootcamp and the future of junior-developer programs. Stick around till the end to catch a sample of her Rocky Mountain Ruby rap!

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    145: YOLO! _push to master_ (Sam Phippen)

    Ben talks to Sam Phippen on working on the RSpec core team, new features in 3.3, tips for contributing to open-source, and his favorite parts of Rails.

    This episode of Giant Robots is sponsored by Digital Ocean. Simple and fast cloud hosting, built for developers. Use the code GiantRobots for a $10 credit towards your new account.

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    143: Keep an Open Mind (Carin Meier)

    Ben talks with Carin Meier on the writer's process, how programming relates to the arts, and the importance of a graduated and immersive approach to learning.

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    142: The Power of Play (Justin Gitlin)

    Ben talks with Justin Gitlin on changing the experience of a social media platform, as well as shaping game dev to art (and vice versa).

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    141: Don't Say No to Anything (Georgia Dow)

    Ben sits down with therapist/writer/podcaster/speaker/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion Georgia Dow to discuss the value of new experiences, the advantages of private mentorship, and living life to it's fullest.

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    139: Learning Oriented Culture (Mike Brittain)

    Ben talks to Mike Brittain, VP of Engineering at Etsy, on interacting with the development community, strides in diversity practices, the pros/cons of an open office, and the difficulties in transitioning from engineering to management.

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    136: I Think it Was the Altitude (Ben Orenstein)

    Chad officially welcomes Ben back to the podcast, discuses the employer/employee ideology that can facilitate a successful sabbatical, and reveals some exclusives on the future of thoughtbot.

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    135: Planning For Change (Ben Arent)

    Chad talks with Ben Arent, product manager at Rackspace, on the trials of app acquisition, as well as their favorite Sass tools.

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    134: Growing to Meteor (Paul Dowman)

    Chad talks with Paul Dowman, founder of OK GROW!, on replacing Rails with Meteor, and how martial arts has made him a better developer.

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    133: The DNA of Music (Matt Aimonetti)

    Chad talks with Matt Aimonetti, co-founder of Splice, on remote worker strategies, fundraising, and his vision for the future of digital musical collaboration.

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    128: To Attract and Retain (Dan Croak)

    Chad talks with thoughtbot CMO Dan Croak about our content marketing strategy, managing the flow of new media, and the origin of our growth team.

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    127: Merging Worlds (Meng To)

    Jeff Smith talks to Meng To, author of Design + Code about the blurring line between developers and designers, learning tools to better communicate, and the difficulties of planing a world-wide workshop tour.

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    126: Log In to Your Space (Zach Dunn)

    Chad talks to Zach Dunn, CPO of Robin, about the future of smart spaces, working with family, and when to shift your company's scope.

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    125: Rebooting (Adarsh Pandit)

    Chad talks to Adarsh Pandit, thoughtbot SF Managing Director & host of the Reboot podcast, about his personal journey which inspired our newest show.

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    124: Maintaining Your Legacy (Scott Ford)

    Chad talks to Scott Ford, founder & COO of Corgibytes, about the business of software remodeling/retrofitting, and finding value and beauty in old code.

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    121: Prolificness (Allison House)

    Guest-Ben Chad Pytel talks with Allison House about maintaining personal growth while freelancing, and her approach to harnessing your capacity to learn.

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    119: Create Value or Create Technology? (Pete Hunt)

    Ben talks with Pete Hunt, formerly of Facebook & Instagram, on React and what makes this unique JavaScript library tick, as well as shifting from a technical to a business focused mindset.

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    118: Scare Yourself (Dan Martell)

    Ben talks with Dan Martell, CEO and founder of Clarity, about self-actualization in business, how life is affected by those around which one surrounds themselves and the value of staying outside one's comfort zone.

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    117: Designing Quality (Will Sulinski)

    Ben talks with Will Sulinski, founder of Pistol Lake, on translating lessons learned from the tech sector into success in the fashion industry.

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    116: A Model Jellyfish (Carl Smith)

    Ben talks with nGen Works founder Carl Smith about alternatives to a "flat" structure, remote management & community building.

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    115: There's a Spectrum Involved Here (Brandon Bloom)

    Ben talks with Brandon Bloom about finding the right tool for the job, there being too many objects in OO Programing and the importance for a full spectrum of options, regardless of the choice.

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    112: Data By Design (Joanne Cheng)

    Ben talks to developer Joanne Cheng about lessons learned from the conference circuit, as well as the subject of her latest conf talk, Data-Driven-Documents within JavaScript, and trends in dashboard design.

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    111: Thinking Outside the Loop (Chris Granger)

    Ben talks with Chris Granger, creator of Light Table, about building a better IDE and envisioning a world where all programming happens inside a database and anyone can do it.

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    110: Protecting Invisible Things (Eric Mill)

    This week Ben talks with former thoughtbotter, and creator of Is It Christmas, Eric Mill about the power of blogging, the personal empowerment offered by the internet and the role of government in the digital age.

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    108: Picking Your Obsession (Brett Van Zuiden)

    Ben talks to Brett Van Zuiden, founder of Filepicker, about the importance of finding your specialization and passion in your industry, as well as his experiences in Y Combinator.

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    104: Maintaining The Meat Machines (Adam Wiggins)

    On this weeks Giant Robots Ben welcomes Adam Wiggins, Heroku co-founder and former CTO, to join as more of a guest host than guest. They discuss team size/structure, project scalability, the benefits of working abroad & self-maintenance best practices.

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    101: Developing Skills (Alex Fox, Jatin Bhandari)

    Ben is joined by Alex & Jatin, recent graduates of the first thoughtbot / Metis Ruby on Rails Bootcamp, to talk about the process, experience and feedback on their path to becoming junior developers.

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    100: Adequately Industrious (Aaron Patterson)

    On our special 100th episode Aaron Patterson joins Ben from RailsConf to talk AdequateRecord, frustrations in software, bulk meat discounts, the finer nuances of cat-naming and the importance of scientific thinking in web development.

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    99: You Are Not Alone (Greg Baugues)

    From RailsConf, Ben & Greg Baugues of Twilio discuss how mental illness affects the development community and the importance of, as well as resources to, proper treatment.

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    98: Memorization Techniques (Chris Hunt)

    From RailsConf, Ben talks to Chris Hunt of Github about techniques for enhancing spacial memory, competitive personalities, the coffee infamy of the Pacific Northwest and Clojure testing.

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    96: Business is Hard (Jeff Casimir)

    Live from RailsConf, Ben talks to Executive Director of The Turing School Jeff Casimir on Conf-stress, the lack of jobs in open source and the challenges of learning to run a business.

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    95: Making Time (Chas Emerick)

    This week Ben sits down with Chas Emerick to discuss his latest venture, The Quilt Project, start up philosophies and the importance of balanced time management.

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    94: The Nature of Writing (Diana Zmuda, Jessie Young)

    Ben is joined by Diana & Jessie of thoughtbot San Francisco to discuss their latest book, iOS on Rails, the concept of releasing a book in Beta and the importance of apprenticeships to emerging junior developers.

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    93: Diversity of Approach (David Nolen)

    On this weeks show Ben talks to David Nolen, Rails & JavaScript developer for the NY Times, about being a steward of ClojureScript, functional programming, the advantages of immutable values and Om.

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    91: Not Ruining Design (Rich Thornett)

    This week on Giant Robots, Ben talks to Rich Thornett, Co-Founder of Dribbble, about the formation and criticisms of the company, the role of product design and remote team management.

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    89: Moving Beyond The Wheel (Mahmoud Abdelkader)

    This week on Giant Robots, Mahmoud Abdelkader of Balanced joins Ben to talk the priorities in ones career trajectory, the role of a successful CTO, and the benefits of radically open transparency.

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    88: Prospering Communities (Kyle Bragger)

    This week Ben Talks with Kyle Bragger of Elepath, Inc on the nature of online community building, advertising vs subscription revenue models and the importance of continued creative output (and actually releasing it to the world).

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    86: Humility and Patience (Peter Reinhardt)

    In this week's episode, we're joined by Peter Reinhardt, Co-founder and CEO of Segment.io. Ben and Peter discuss the product, their tech stack, the companies big pivot to Segment.io, their growth and future plans. They also discuss leaving MIT to start a company, getting along with your co-founders, nuclear reactors, hiking, and much more.

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    85: I Want These Ideas To Be Free (Max Temkin)

    This week, Ben is joined by Max Temkin, creator of Cards Against Humanity and Humans vs. Zombies. Max talks about his success with Cards Against Humanity and his feelings of impostor syndrome. He talks about some of his other projects including his first indie game, Humans vs. Zombies. Most recently Max had a multiplayer PC game published called Samurai Gunn. Max talks about the "open source" nature of his games. They discuss money, sustainability, kickstarter, and much more.

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    84: The Bus Number (Harper Reed)

    On this week's episode, Ben talks with Harper Reed, former CTO of Threadless, former CTO of Obama for America, and currently CEO of Modest. Harper talks about management and his "cabal" of people that he likes to work with. He also discusses his experience on the campaign, healthcare.gov, and procurement laws. When asked about his playbook for success, Harper talks about networking strategies, the use of different languages for different problems, craziness, and much more.

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    83: Turning the Tables (Ben Orenstein)

    On this week's special episode, Chad Pytel turns the tables and interviews host Ben Orenstein. They discuss the process of running the podcast and Ben's roots in programming and computer science. Ben talks about his Vim mastery, how he got into public speaking, and his experiences speaking at RailsConf. This year Ben is organizing the live coding track at RailConf. Ben describes his strategies for learning programming, how he's getting into Clojure, and much more!

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    82: Teach all the things (Matt Knox)

    This week's episode features Matt Knox of Twitter. Matt is a part of Twitter's university team which teaches new Twitter recruits about the company. He works as an engineer as well in order to stay current. Matt discusses his background as an engineer, and how he got into teaching. He discusses using Storm, essentially a real-time Hadoop, for Twitter. Ben and Matt talk about the importance of keeping a portfolio as a programmer and deliberate practice routines for coding, and more.

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    81: An Agent of Change (Seth Godin)

    In this week's episode, Ben Orenstein is joined by best selling author, Seth Godin. Seth describes himself as an entrepreneur, a blogger, and an agent of change. They discuss art, frustration, and the endless pursuit of perfection as an artist. In his newest book, The Icarus Deception, Seth discusses seeking art in your work and looking beyond standards and production. They talk about the importance of finding connections with other artists and people who can provide meaningful feedback. They discuss several of Seth's blog posts which are linked below, and much more.

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    78: Fancy Pants (Chris Lindland)

    This week on Giant Robots, Ben Orenstein talks with Chris Lindland, CEO of Betabrand.com about online fashion, self-generating product and dress-pant-sweatpants.

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    77: A Beautiful Thing (Harold Giménez)

    This week on Giant Robots, Ben Orenstein speaks with Harold Giménez, Heroku postgres leader, about postgres, data management, and beer brewing.

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    76: The Boutique Agency

    Ben Orenstein speaks with Alex Kesler, founder and CEO of inSegment about digital marketing, GTD and productivity.

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    71: The Power of the Truth

    Josh Clayton and Ben Orenstein interview each other about their managing director positions.

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    69: Geocoding in the Now

    Ben Orenstein interviews Josh Clayton and Laila Winner on their book, Geocoding on Rails.

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    68: Simplicity and Elegance

    Ben Orenstein and Paul Farnell, CEO of Litmus, talk about starting up, business practices, and Litmus.

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    67: The Data Optimist

    Ben Orenstein and Hilary Mason, Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners, talk about Data Science, Bitly and Cheeseburgers.

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    65: No! Videos Private!

    On this episode Ben talks with Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz about Wistia

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    64: Wistfully Into the Air

    In this episode of Giant Robots Ben talks with Des Traynor about intercom, concise communication. blogging and customer outreach.

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    62: Family Business

    In this of episode of Giant Robots, Ben speaks with Natalie Nagele and Ilya Sabanin about Wildbit, Beanstalk, and work flow.

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    60: Deep Dive

    In this week's episode Ben discusses effective business practices and advice for optimal page design with special guest Patrick McKenzie.

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    59: Nowhere to Hide

    In this episode, Ben Orenstein speaks with thoughtbot CTO Joe Ferris about the technical interview process at thoughtbot, and more.

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    58: A Thousand Neckbeards

    This week Ben Orenstein, Pat Brisbin, and Mike Burns talk about Haskell, Linux, functional and dynamic programming, Conway's Game of Life, and much more.

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    57: Delayed Gratification

    In this episode, Ben Orenstein is joined by Michael Klett, Co-founder and tech lead of Chargify. Ben and Michael discuss the evolution of Chargify and bumps along the way, underwear subscriptions, Michael’s transition from hardware to software, negativity in the Rails community, slow tests, and much more.

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    56: Code in a Bubble Bath

    In this episode Ben Orenstein is joined by Alex MacCaw, creator of Spine, formerly of Twitter, and now a developer at Stripe. Ben and Alex talk about travel, writing, code, and couch surfing.

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    55: The Value of Flow

    In this episode Ben Orenstein speaks with designer and founder of Authentic Jobs, Cameron Moll, about Authentic Jobs, design, the value of flow and family, and much, much more.

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    54: Build your stuff on the side and have a good time

    In this episode, Ben Orenstein is joined by 17 year old Jack Kaufman, author of The Found a Business Book. Ben and Jack discuss Jack's inspiration for the book and how he got all his interviews, the other opportunities it's led too, the common themes he uncovered in his interviews, the differences between those who got funding and bootstrappers, working on the book while in highschool, marketing he's doing, his plans for the future, the issue with college computer science programs, his fears about the future, and much more.

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    53: Not everything needs to be extracted

    In this episode Ben Orenstein is joined by Yehuda Katz and Tom Dale from Tilde. They discuss bootstrapping a business and the model behind Tilde, their breakdown of product development and consulting, and how they all met. They also talk about designing APIs and frameworks that people actually want to use, how teaching helps them be better framework developers, how they can beat the competition, how supporting multiple languages and frameworks can ruin your app's experience, the big surprises as they've launched, Ember.js' push to 1.0 and beyond, the difference between Ember.js and Backbone.js and why JavaScript matters, and much more.

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    52: You look really fancy in your tuxedo

    In this special episode, number 52, and our 1 year anniversary episode, recorded at RailsConf 2013, Ben Orenstein is joined by Ruby and Rails core team member Aaron Patterson, thoughtbot CTO Joe Ferris, and a live studio audience. The trio discuss Rails 4, observers, callbacks, dubstep, namespaces, Scheme, functional programming, thread safety in Rails, what it would take to remove callbacks from Rails and why you would want to do it, what should be in our anniversary episode, dealing with Rails security issues, why Aaron likes to work on Rails, meeting people's expectations, Vim, intuitive software, and so much more.

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    51: I found a voice

    On this week's show, recorded at RailsConf 2013, Ben Orenstein is joined by Sandi Metz, developer, author, podcaster, and recent Ruby Hero award winner. Ben and Sandi discuss winning awards, writing, whether notoriety changes who you are, what Sandi is proud of, the bad code she's writing and why, what she's doing now, getting real feedback on your work, that it's OK not to know everything, and much, much more.

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    50: It's Monday today, let's change everything

    In this week's episode, recorded at RailsConf 2013, Ben Orenstein is joined by Jeff Casimir and Katrina Owen from Jumpstart Lab and gSchool to discuss performing, speaking, and imposter syndrome, preparing for your talk, and what makes a good talk and how to give one. The also discuss gSchool, the way the program works and they way it's guaranteed, teaching, admitting ignorance, how good practice should be harder than the real thing, and why Jeff didn't like studying Computer Science and why he didn't enjoy programming and how Rails reignited his passion for creating things, and much more.

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    49: The psychology of work

    In this episode, recorded at RailsConf 2013, Ben Orenstein is joined by Gregg Pollack and Nathaniel Bibler from EnvyLabs and codeschool.com. Gregg shares what he's learned running his business, when not to be transparent, how to deal with compensation, and how the EnvyLabs compensation structure has changed over the years. Nathan, Gregg, and Ben also discuss Code School, yearly payments to a subscription, making courses effective, effective marketing, the effectiveness of mailing lists, community events, shared ownership, and much more.

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    48: Barista imposter syndrome

    In this episode, recorded at RailsConf 2013, Ben Orenstein is joined by Jon Larkowski, closet hippie and developer at CareZone. Ben and Jon discuss being a closet hippie, transitioning from consulting to working on a startup/product team, ping-pong, paying attention to your habits and improving to your life, meditation, firewalling your attention, fostering a startup culture, imposter syndrome, podcasting, coffee, code review, guitar, and much more.

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    47: Two hours per minute

    In this episode, recorded at RailsConf 2013, Ben Orenstein is joined by Ryan Bates of RailsCasts. Ben and Ryan discuss Ryan's transition to working on RailsCasts full time, staying up to date on the latest technology, how his coding style has changed, maintaining his open source, the process of producing RailsCasts, why he doesn't speak at conferences, the latest technology he is excited about, and much more

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    46: We don't have a monopoly on being unhealthy

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Joe Kutner, programmer and author of ‘The Healthy Programmer’. Ben and Joe discuss how the demands of a development job lead to unhealthy habits, and ways to address the issues. They discuss specifics like standing desks, walking desks, the pomodoro technique, exercise, vitamin D, and much more.

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    45: Tiny Robots Cuddling with other Tiny Robots

    This week we try something a little different. Joe Ferris, Matt Jankowski, Ben Orenstein, and Chad Pytel get together and have a little fun, in what we're calling "Tiny Robots cuddling with other Tiny Robots". We'd love to get your thoughts on this special format, tweet us @thoughtbot or email learn@thoughtbot.com.

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    44: I feel the opposite of burnt out

    In this week's podcast, Ben Orenstein is joined by Chad Fowler, author, speaker, and CTO of 6wunderkinder. Ben and Chad discuss Chad's recent move to Berlin and 6wunderkinder, what a CTO does, getting back to coding, the early Ruby community, who Chad wants to hire, predicting success of new hires, and what makes a truly good developer, favorite interview questions, how Chad's interviewing process has changed over time, how age and experience can change your perspective, how Chad built a great team, and what he might write about in the future. They also discuss Chad's new tattoo, his regrets, meditation, therapy, gaining control over your mind, and much, much more.

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    43: A good person by default

    thoughtbot's Ben Orenstein is joined by Scott Orn, venture capitalist at Lighthouse Capital Partners by day, and co-founder of Ben's Friends by night. Ben and Scott discuss building a community, the future of Ben's Friends, and how running the site helps him be a better VC, teaching people, and getting value out of giving back. They also talk about his work as a venture capitalist at Lighthouse, how the money flows, the freemium software model, why it's good and how it works, picking the winners, and how the market can affect success, and the companies Scott thinks are great investments, and where he thinks the market is going.

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    42: Why were you suing a website?

    This week, Ben Orenstein is joined by Peter Moldave, attorney at Gesmer Updegrove to discuss attorney client privilege, what not to do with email, the similarities between lawyers and programmers, how he got into law, his history with technology, and his time as a corporate lawyer at Apple. They also dig into how EULAs work, whether they are binding, whether you should be reading them, and how they can be enforced, software licensing, copyrights and the First-sale doctrine, patent law, software patents, and navigating the patent landscape. They also discuss how to view stock options in your startup job offer, working at startups, how to have a valuable career path, what your employer owns from your side projects or your work for them, how to manage liability in your startup, web site, app on the App Store, and side projects, the best corporate structure and much, much more.

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    41: This is the sausage being made

    This week Ben Orenstein in joined by thoughtbot CEO, Chad Pytel, to discuss thoughbot's books, online and in-person training programs, other educational products, and the launch of thoughtbot's new subscription to everything they teach, Learn Prime. They also discuss some changes to apprentice.io, Five Guys, and much more!

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    40: He's winking at me

    Ben is joined by Bryan Helmkamp, the founder of CodeClimate. In Bryan's second appearance on the podcast, Ben and Bryan discuss the architecture behind CodeClimate, scaling the service, and growing the business. They also discuss speaking at conferences, proposal selection, two factor authentication and adding it to CodeClimate, marketing and content marketing, how to decide what to build and proving that it was worthwhile, strategies for testing at the beginning when you have few users, and Bryan reveals CodeClimate next big upcoming feature.

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    39: We've been watching you for some time, Mr. Grimm

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Avdi Grimm, software developer, author, and podcaster. Ben and Avdi discuss Emacs, Avdi's personal assistant and delegating work. They also discuss naming and finding implicit concepts in your code, encoding processes as objects in their own right, his publishing and podcasting, the pronunciation of Parley, Ruby Tapas, education resources and the benefits of open source languages, his goals, the most civilized way to travel, and what we got wrong about the Law of Demeter.

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    38: Standing out from the pack

    This week Ben Orenstein is joined by Jeremy McAnally, employee at GitHub, author of Ruby in Practice, Rails 3 Upgrade Handbook, MacRuby in Action, and more. Jeremy and Ben discuss teaching and organizing conferences, remote working for GitHub, the and the company summits, GitHub workflows, their internal tools team. They also talk about standing out from the pack in work, life, and getting accepted to conferences, selecting people to speak at conferences, self-publishing, Jeremy's writing process and future writing plans, work-life balance, how to get a job at GitHub, and much more.

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    37: You're riding the Rails bro!

    Ben Orenstein is joined this week by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot. Ben and Joe discuss starting a new Rails project and our Rails application generator, Suspenders, test spies and breaking up your tests, and using Rails beta versions.

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    36: A gem called exploit

    This week Ben Orenstein is joined by Nick Quaranto, developer at 37signals and one of the maintainers of RubyGems.org. Nick and Ben discuss the just released Basecamp iOS app, the architecture of the app, the origins of the app and how it became what it is today, and RubyMotion in general. They then move on to discuss the recent RubyGems.org cracking, the mechanism behind it, the process of restoring the service, and how it might affect RubyGems going forward. They then circle back to talk more about RubyMotion, testing, working at 37signals, CoworkBuffalo, OpenHack, and good coffee.

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    35: I haven't lifted a pencil in years

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Dennis Najjar CPA from AccountingDepartment.com. They discuss international companies operating in the United States, the tools of his trade, how AccountingDepartment.com is set up and what their different clients look like, and why it makes sense to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting. They also explore the checks and balances you should have in bookkeeping and accounting, the accounting departments role in an organization and 1099s their purpose, and what to do if you don't get one.

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    34: Very little comes to those who wait

    In this week's episode, Ben Orenstein is joined by Steve Snyder, Entrepreneur in Residence at the law firm, Gesmer Updegrove LLP. Ben and Steve discuss Steve's history, his unique position at the law firm, mistakes to avoid, and advice and guidance to entrepreneurs just starting out.

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    33: I've failed before

    This week Ben Orenstein is joined by Jarrod Drysdale, the author of Bootstrapping Design. Ben and Jarrod discuss the sales and revenue of the book, and his new project, cascade.io. They also talk about learning new things, problem solving, and the differences between programming and design. They also discuss the downside to recurring revenue, successful marketing strategies for his book, advice for people who want to start something new, the concerns of a solo entrepreneur, and how his previous failures help him keep perspective.

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    32: There is an excited you in there

    Ben Orenstein is joined this week by Daniel Jalkut, the developer of MarsEdit and other fine software. Ben and Daniel discuss the origin of Daniel's twitter username, his history at Apple and his work there, and how it influences what he builds today. They also discuss the challenges of running your own company, and how Daniel's priorities and rule systems help him get things done, how the success of MarsEdit takes up his attention at the exclusion of other ideas, and how he thinks about failure. Then then go on to talk about App Store versus direct sales, why Daniel still sells his software outside the app store as well as in it, and what the breakdown of sales are like there, as well as Daniel's thoughts on App Store pricing and the benefits of being in the app store. Finally, Daniel tells us why he thinks git is like a PC and Mercurial is like a Mac, why he dislikes git, what he thinks makes a good podcast, how his podcast has changed, and much more.

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    31: I write everything in Markdown

    This week Chad Pytel is joined by software developer, podcaster, and author, Brett Terpstra. Chad and Brett discuss Brett's work location and setup, his open source and commercial software projects, app store pricing, his publishing experience and workflow, and his podcast. They also discuss his keyboard and trackpad mappings, and much more.

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    30: Giant Year-End Extravaganza

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Chad Pytel, the CEO of thoughtbot to take a look back at some of the things thoughtbot did in 2012. They then answer a bunch of listener questions.

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    29: The most ironic iOS developer

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Gordon Fontenot and Matt Mongeau, two thoughtbot developers, to discuss iOS development using both Objective-C and RubyMotion. Ben, Matt, and Gordon talk about the differences between the two platforms for iOS development, testing in iOS development, the difficulty in it, and the ways to do it. They also make they're recommendations for getting started with iOS development, and discuss iOS apps they like, designing iOS applications, the iOS release cycle, and much more.

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    28: Farther, further, faster

    Ben Orenstein is joined by David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and a partner at 37signals. David and Ben discuss David's normal day, his working relationship with Jason Fried, how their blog, Signal vs. Noise, is important to the company, how he got into programming, where he draws his inspiration from, some good books he's read and how he learns today, how he overcomes fear and why he takes risks, how he got into racing, why he enjoys it, what he learns from it, and how feedback loops and goal posts help you learn, inspire you, and help you know how good you are. They then go on to explore what David would, or wouldn't, change about Rails, and how he sees Rails evolving into the future. David also talks a little bit about the new product 37signals has in development, and 37signals' overall product strategy, coding at 37signals and his approach to providing guidance to the team, what role he plays on Rails core, what he cares about, and what he pays attention to, and much, much more.

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    27: Fabulous new mistakes

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot. Inspired by a question on Law of Demeter from listener Nathan Long, Joe and Ben (hopefully) answer Nathan's question, and then go on to discuss how the Law of Demeter is a form of duplication, how it effects testing, and how to better architect your report, your view, or your entire system to better obey the Law of Demeter. They also touch upon Rails' try method, how the pain of testing helps guide the code you write, where the Law of Demeter doesn't apply, how people don't refactor their tests, how to productively refactor your tests and avoid wasting time rewriting things, and much more.

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    26: Deep into the psyche of Gary Bernhardt

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Gary Berhardt from Destroy All Software Screencasts. Ben and Gary discuss DAS, how it has changed over the two years he's been doing it, and how his thinking has changed over that time. They then discuss Gary's thoughts on how to write software and tests, how we wants to "fix the kernel", and his exciting plans for the future. They also discuss his background, the production process behind Destroy All Software, and much, much more.

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    25: Long hours on the BoltBus

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Alex Godin from dispatch.io. Ben and Alex discuss Alex's hectic time in both apprentice.io and TechStars, how he got started at his age, what he's accomplished so far, what he worries about, when he is happiest, and his outlook on the future.

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    24: Not so DRY that it chafes

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Sarah Mei, RailsBridge co-founder, a developer at Pivotal Labs, and Diaspora core team member. In this episode, recorded at RubyConf 2012, Ben and Sarah discuss how communication patterns of your team manifest themselves in the code it writes, and how understanding those patterns can help you improve your code. They discuss RailsBridge, teaching, how teaching is an incredible learning opportunity, and how RailsBridge has helped expand the community of women developers in San Francisco and beyond. Finally, they explore how she got into Ruby, and women in technology.

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    23: As a consultant it's always your fault

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Tammer Saleh and Randall Thomas, the founders of Thunderbolt Labs. In this episode, recorded at RubyConf 2012, they discuss their philosophy of running and building the company, how they differ from other consulting companies, and how they do much more than just Rails programming and how its leading to very interesting new kinds of work. Why they list their prices right on their website, and how they derived their rate of $277 per hour. They also explore what their first year in business has been like, some challenges they've faced, and some important lessons they've learned.

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    22: Your code looks nice today

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Bryan Helmkamp, founder of Code Climate, hosted software metrics for Ruby apps. In this episode, recorded at RubyConf 2012, they discuss what code climate is, how Bryan considers it a small business not a startup, and what its like being a solo founder. They also discuss how code metrics can help you write and maintain better software, how it helps, and how it changes behavior. Finally they explore what the biggest surprise for him has been so far, some of his plans, and what success looks like for him.

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    21: Data, Context and Interaction

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Jim Gay, author of Clean Ruby, and Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot, in the episode recorded at RubyConf 2012. Ben, Joe, and Jim discuss Data, Context and Interaction (DCI), what it is, whether it is at odds with Object-Oriented Programming, how it can be applied to your applications, and much more.

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    20: Ruby Lightning

    In this special episode from RubyConf 2012 we pulled aside some of the attendees and found out what they're working on. We also include a selection of the great lightning talks at the conference. Enjoy!

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    19: I have tons of guns and knives

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Aaron Patterson, Ruby Core team member, Rails Core team member, and a Señior Software Engineer at AT&T Interactive. Aaron and Ben discuss the upcoming features and excitement for Ruby 2.0 and some things Aaron would like to see in Ruby in the future that didn't quite make it into Ruby 2.0. They also discuss how the Rails Core team differs from the Ruby Core team, how much effort it takes to write a detailed blog post and how many mistakes are involved, how he likes being a ruby celebrity, his involvement in Seattle.rb and what it teaches him. Finally, how awesome his job is and how he could do it forever, how he worries about Ruby or Rails becoming irrelevant and wants to stop that from happening, how he is happy all the time, and if he could wave a magic wand and change one thing about Rails, what it would be. This and so much more in this entertaining episode recorded at RubyConf 2012.

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    18: Trading Hours for Money

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Brennan Dunn, author of double your freelancing rate and planscope.io. Ben and Brennan discuss transitioning from a freelancer to a consulting company, the issues he faced doing it, and how he overcame them. How he promoted someone to replace him in his consulting company and is focused exclusively on products now, where Planscope came from, how it works, and how he more than doubled the conversion rate. How content marketing was slow to work for him, and how he fixed it. How to effectively pitch and sell products, what victory looks like for him and what he's working for, and so much more.

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    17: I'm feeling full and Sassy

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Kyle Fiedler, a designer at thoughtbot, and one of the creators of Bourbon Neat. Ben and Kyle discuss responsive design, what it is, and how to implement it. They also discuss Bourbon (a library of Sass mixins) and Neat (a fluid grid framework based on Bourbon), what's wrong with Twitter Bootstrap and why Bourbon Neat is better, and the other reasons why Bourbon Neat was created despite all the other grid frameworks that are available. Kyle shares the most common design mistakes he sees developers make in projects, whether or not design is subjective or whether it can be more objective, his design process and how it has changed, what the Golden Ratio is, and how it's used in Neat. Finally, they also discuss the Design for Developers workshop offered by thoughtbot, which teaches the fundamental design principles and tools to developers, and much, much more.

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    16: Making it fast

    Ben Orenstein is joined by William Josephson and Jay Moorthi from Solano Labs, the makers of tddium, the hosted, scalable continuous integration service. They discuss the architecture of the service, including how they're using Go to speed up parts of it, the surprises they've had in getting started, how they've gotten involved in the Ruby community, and how they validated their idea and get feedback from customers. Also, their experience working with thoughtbot, what has worked and not worked for driving public customers to the site and converting them, dealing with privacy, customer support, their goals and their growth plans, and much more.

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    15: Moving money should be free

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Seth Priebatsch, creator of SCVNGR and LevelUp. Ben and Seth talk about LevelUp, how it got started, how they make money, and what the future holds. They also discuss his daily schedule, maintaining focus, what he worries about, how your motives can limit your success, how to change the world by choosing the right thing to change, why he stopped hiding doubt and started being more transparent, and much, much more, including the most interesting question he's never been asked.

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    14: Say goodbye to that big guy

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Prem Sichanugrist, a developer at thoughtbot and the #31 top Rails contributor. Ben and Prem walk through the major changes that will be introduced in Rails 4, including strong parameters, the new built in queue, cache_digest, changes in ActiveRecord::Relation, and ActiveResource. The also discuss what people can do to ease contribution and issue submission to Rails, how can people get their first commit into Rails, and much more.

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    13: I'll disagree in just a little bit

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot, and Josh Clayton, developer at thoughtbot and the lead maintainer of FactoryGirl. In this Rails focused episode, Ben, Joe, and Josh dish on ActiveRecord callbacks, observers, state machines, and before_filters vs. middleware. They discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of each, and how to keep your app clean while doing the right thing. Then they touch on what's new in FactoryGirl, how using build_stubbed can speed up your test suite, and much more.

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    12: I think I'll be on a yacht

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Matt Jankowski, COO of thoughtbot. Ben and Matt start off by talking about how Matt came to join thoughtbot and his role at the company. They then discuss the typical thoughtbot sales process. How all problems are communication problems. How the way thoughtbot works is appealing to startups and how they hear about thoughtbot. How thoughtbot handles its 20% investment time in open source and our own products, how we preserve that despite trying to grow the business, and how that has evolved over time. The reasons why it's not always possible to work faster by increasing the team size. Goals, metrics, and things thoughtbot can do better. Plus, how project management techniques translate to child-rearing, his standing desk, and much more.

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    11: You want your system to bend, not to break

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Sean Cribbs, Software Engineer at Basho, the makers of Riak. Ben and Sean start off discussing the interesting overlap of programmers and musicians and why it seems to happen so much. They then discuss Sean's role at Basho, what Riak is, how it works, and how it differs from other NoSQL databases. Sean works remotely for Basho, which has several offices, so Ben and Sean discuss remote workers and remote offices, and the ins and outs of navigating that set up, and how he got paid to work on open source. Finally, they discuss Erlang, which most of Riak is written in. These topics, plus much more.

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    10: Isn't the last stage of grieving acceptance?

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Joe Ferris and Mike Burns. They start off with some recommendations for awesome programming books and then dive right in to questions about not following "Tell don't ask" in the view, how MVC and the Single Responsibility Principle may be at odds with "Tell don't ask" in the view, and what a more object oriented approach may look like. They also discuss "Class-oriented programming", what it is, why it is bad, how Rails does it, and how to avoid it. They take a quick trip through Mike's experiments in Ruby and Smalltalk in creating his own programming language. The three codecateers then take on the really important topic of method order and code organization, and finally they reflect on how their code has changed over the years, how no solution is foolproof, and how to move to the next level as a programmer. These topics and more, in this installment of the GIANT ROBOTS SMASHING INTO OTHER GIANT ROBOTS podcast!

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    9: TDD for Business!!

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Chad Pytel, the CEO and Founder of thoughtbot. Ben and Chad talk about the history of thoughtbot, success, failures, lessons learned, the current growth plans for the company, and much more. They also answer listener questions about hiring, growing, balancing client and internal work like open source and products, and contractor rates and how to set them.

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    8: Wax on, Wax off

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Gabe Berke-Williams and Edward Loveall. Gabe is developer at thoughtbot and the product manager of the thoughtbot apprenticeship program, apprentice.io. Edward is a current design apprentice. Gabe, Edward, and Ben talk about apprentice.io, how it works, it's successes, and lessons learned. They also discuss how Gabe goes about mentoring new developers, and effective learning and teaching methods. Edward also gives his perspective on his apprenticeship how it went, his typical day as an apprentice, his advice for incoming apprentices, and much more.

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    7: Something Else Was Smellier

    Ben Orenstein is once again joined by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot. Joe and Ben dive right in to a technical discussion about Objects versus Structures. They then discuss what Joe does as the new CTO of thoughtbot, and how his goal is to set up a system where everybody is teaching everybody. Finally, they discuss why Joe doesn't like using rspec's let and subject, and his strategy for writing tests without them.

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    6: MVP of Personal Hygiene

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Dan Powell, founder of Abakas. Dan plays the role of Consulting CTO for his clients. They discuss the best and the worst of his job, his history as a Linux hacker, and what his experience has taught him about technology and technology trends, and how he stays on top of them. Also, how to create effective, well-written, maintainable software, the Rails talent crunch, developers getting promoted to management, maintaining work-life balance and how not to get burnt out, and much, much more.

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    5: My wife is getting really into whiskey

    Ben Orenstein is joined by “Cowboy” Ben Alman, JavaScript open source developer and Director of Pluginization at Bocoup. They discuss how Ben Alman got started with programming and his crazy projects, the open web, favorite tools, and one of his latest projects, Grunt. They also discuss CoffeeScript, and why Ben Alman’s not using it yet, speaking at conferences and how Ben Alman got more comfortable in front of crowds, whether its important to understand straight JavaScript, or just jQuery, and more! Also, Whiskey.

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    4: I've got a little thoughtbot angel or devil on my shoulder

    Ben Orenstein is joined by David Thyresson, the founder of Stattleship and a past client of thoughtbot. Ben and David discuss how he got started with Stattleship, how he came to work with thoughtbot, and what it was like to work with us. Also, how the idea of what he would initially build changed, and how through agile software development he discovered how it was wrong. How he learned Ruby on Rails from thoughtbot during his project. Finally, what has worked for driving visitors to the site, and important lessons learned about starting up, building an app, and running a business.

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    3: The FactoryGirl Representation of a Factory

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Josh Clayton, the maintainer of FactoryGirl, and a developer at thoughtbot. Ben and Josh discuss FactoryGirl: using it, its development progress, and features. What it's like to run an open source project, and how to contribute to open source effectively. Looking at your old code and being a better developer. Approaches to testing. And answer your questions about: FactoryGirl, How to write effective tests suites and whether integration tests are a scam, our process for upgrading between Rails versions, testing complex UI logic, and leaving code untested.

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    2: Design with a sip of Bourbon

    Ben Orenstein is joined this week by Phil LaPier, the creator of Bourbon and a designer at thoughtbot. Ben and Phil discuss the design process, fundamentals of visual design, common design errors, and how to be a better designer (even if you're a developer), and how to work with designers as a developer. They also answer some audience questions about design: How to handle feedback from clients, and HAML vs. HTML.

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    1: Polymorphism vs. Conditionals

    Ben Orenstein and Joe Ferris (and the surprise special guest Seana Quental) start the series off with a very technical discussion about Polymorphism vs. Conditionals. We also answer some of the audience questions we asked for last week.

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