Jessica Kerr


With Jessica Kerr

Jessica Kerr is a developer of development systems. She works remotely from St. Louis, for Atomist, and when not engineering automation infrastructure, Jess is a frequent panelist on the Greater Than Code podcast, conference speaker, and writer. Her mission is to find and share new ways to think about code, people, and symmathesies of code-and-people.

Symmathesy. That was a new word for me, and in essence, it describes: a learning system made of learning parts. We unpack that idea more in this episode, along with presenting advice on making the most of generativity focused opportunities.

On the show, Jess and I step through everything from idea generation exercises, through blueprints for conference talks and writing, to productivity and teamwork.

Time Jumps

Generativity is about: how are my actions helping the team as a whole. And, not just the team today, but the team in the future. How is this making us into a team that can do more.

Episode Transcript

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Kevin Lesht: Welcome to the Day as a Dev podcast. I am your host Kevin Lesht and my guest on this episode is Jessica Kerr. Your to do list should be impossible. That's a quote from Jess on this episode and I couldn't agree more. To me it represents excitement and on the show Jess relays just what it means to her. She's a developer, a conference speaker, writer, podcaster and symmathecist. That last word, symmathesy was new for me, and in essence it describes a learning system made of learning parts. And this kind of mutual learning is captured well in this episode, from idea generation exercises through blueprints for conference talks and writing to productivity and teamwork. If you're looking for a seam into teaching, this one's for you. Now my conversation with Jessica Kerr.

Kevin Lesht: 60 degrees and raining thunderstorms out of Chicago, Illinois for this one, but I do always say that coding in the rain is a top five activity and right up there with it is talking about things related to coding. Jessica Kerr is my guest today. Jess want to welcome you to the show and if you could set the stage for us, the fans ask for it. They need it. Can you give us an idea of where you're at right now and what the weather's like out there?

Jessica Kerr: 90 degrees is the high today and sunny and it's gorgeous, but it'll get down to 60 so when I go to the football game tonight, I'm bringing my coat.

Kevin Lesht: That is fantastic. What football game are you headed to a Friday?Friday night lights to action?

Jessica Kerr: Webster Groves High School. My daughter's in the marching band.

Kevin Lesht: I was a trumpet player growing up and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't stick with it. I would love to have carried an instrument forward with me, so give her my best. I hope that she sticks with it enjoys. Only if she enjoys it though. I guess you have to...

Jessica Kerr: Yes, she likes the flute, the marching part, not so much.

Kevin Lesht: Not so much.

Jessica Kerr: The sitting at the football game, hates it. So I need to go sit there in solidarity, but I'm looking forward to it today. It's a beautiful evening. It's been a day of a lot of thinking and I am ready to be bored.

Kevin Lesht: Well, I hope you both have a good time out there. On the, I guess, how about this for a segue, the topic of performances. You too, setting the stage here. I thought we could begin with when you were growing up. You mentioned on an episode of the Greater Than Code podcast, that you were involved as an extra in theater productions and things like that. I was super curious. I would love to learn more about those experiences and what that was like. How you even got involved in something like that?

Jessica Kerr: Oh yeah. Yeah. When I was in middle school and high school, my grandmother was the drama director at the local college, Hannibal-LaGrange College. And every year they put on a musical. And so as like the director's granddaughter, I often got to be on stage. My favorite was the King and I, because I had a speaking part. I was princess Ying Yaowalak and it was good. It was good. I remember one time on stage, I'm Ying Yaowalak, me and all of the other little Royal children are onstage huddled down in our bowing position and I sneezed. And the corner of the audience nearest to me laughed.

Kevin Lesht: Oh gosh. Yeah.

Jessica Kerr: I loved it.

Kevin Lesht: I feel like that stuff too, it had to have been well, so much fun. But also why I asked is so much. Jess, I guess good training for now bringing us to the current day. You're a frequent speaker at conferences and wanted to get some insight into if you think those experiences helped shape your stage presence. And I ask because speaking for me it's always, let's say like an experience, the lead up usually involves. I think the tradition is me breaking into a cold sweat. But then once I get up there that part I really enjoy and have a lot of fun with. But it's just the waiting around before the talk that is the rough part. I would be curious, let's get into it right away here you've given a number of keynote talks and coming up, you're scheduled to give a keynote at RubyConf 2019. First congratulations. That is an awesome gig and super exciting.

Jessica Kerr: I agree. It's a major honor to be keynoting RubyConf with Sandi Metz and Matz.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah. Well you will hold the stage. Well I know it and, and I wonder if you could give us a look into what it's like to be a keynote speaker, play into the show here. What does a day as a keynote speaker look like?

Jessica Kerr: Oh, that's a good question. I love to open because then it's over with and you get to enjoy the rest of the conference. Yeah, also you mentioned that part about the buildup to getting on stage.

Kevin Lesht: Yes. Yeah.

Jessica Kerr: Being the hardest part. It helps in the morning. That time is just not very long. So like an early time slot helps a lot with that anxiety.

Kevin Lesht: Oh, that's interesting. Yeah.

Jessica Kerr: Yeah. And but you mentioned having been on stage as a child and I do think that has helped a lot. Because for me growing up I just spent a lot of time on stage mostly during rehearsals. Because even when I wasn't in the play, in addition to a musical, grandma would direct a play every year and I would go to all the rehearsals and if everybody was there then I would sit in the audience chairs and read my book. I remember reading Gone with the Wind. I don't recommend reading that at 13 you don't understand it at that age.

Jessica Kerr: But then when someone was not there for a rehearsal, I would go read their part. That just makes the being on the stage normal. Because of that growing up I spent more time on a stage than looking at a stage. And that's different from most people's experience. One piece of advice I would give people, if you're nervous about being on stage, if you ever get the opportunity to just hang out on a stage, whether it's if you're involved at a conference, if you're organizing or something beforehand or whatever, or if your kids' elementary school or church, if you're in the choir at church... Something, if you can just hang out on a stage. If you're just waiting for things to happen, sit up there and read a book, have a conversation, make it normal to be on that platform.

Kevin Lesht: Yes, I love that tip and I would say too, even speaking from my personal experience, I had read a tip online and tried this out the last time I spoke and it was so helpful and it was even play exactly into what you said at the venue that you are set up to give the talk at, try to get onto the stage or in front of where you're going to be presenting from before you actually get to the talk. Even if the room isn't filled yet, just try to put yourself-

Jessica Kerr: Oh, that the best time, yeah.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah, try to put yourself in that position. Looking out just to, I suppose mentally prime yourself of that position you're going to be in.

Jessica Kerr: Oh yes. That's excellent advice and in fact I usually want to get to the conference half an hour before it starts and then go to the room I'm going to speak in or if you're talking after lunch, do this during lunch. Go to the room you're going to speak in, go stand behind the podium, walk around, look at the screen. Where is the screen relative to you? Look at the chairs, where are they, how deepest the room and how wide is the room, what's the angle that you're going to need to talk to with the audience or how big are your fonts going to need to be?

Kevin Lesht: Yes, yeah.

Jessica Kerr: If you can hook up your projector or your computer to the projector and try out the screen, great. Put your slides up there, put whatever has the smallest letters or if you're doing a demo, put your terminal up there and type some stuff and then walk to the back of the room and sit down, see how much of the screen you can see because often the people in front have their heads, it's not their fault, but their heads are blocking part of the screen from the people in the back of the room as you just get the audience's perspective and own that space. You belong there.

Kevin Lesht: That is a huge tip. I know that the font size especially and just the, I think amount of content that you plan to place onto a slide is a learned thing. I remember luckily it was just a lightning talk, but I remember one of the first talks I gave, I was trying to relay like huge blocks of code with no discrete highlighting. And the feedback I got was like, yeah, we have no idea or could not at all process just what you were trying to display there. So such valuable things to consider.

Kevin Lesht: I wonder too if before you even get to the point of giving the talk, we could set up individuals who were looking to get into the business of giving talks of public speaking and I wonder from your own experience, could you give us some ideas into how you go about taking an idea into a talk. All the way maybe from if you could offer any advice for how an individual could set themselves up for submitting to a call for proposals and even maybe if you have any exercises for how they might generate those ideas to submit.

Jessica Kerr: Yes. I will give you all the same advice that I got that got me into conference speaking, which is you do not need to be an expert in what you're talking about. You just need to know enough to talk for an hour or half an hour or however long it is. And the best time to give a talk about something, especially if you're teaching a technology is right after you learned it. I would much rather hear from someone who has recently learned a language. If I'm trying to learn that language than the language author. The language author can give me perspective and some why, but the person who just learned it is the one that can tell me where the stumbling blocks are, and where the really cool stuff is to look for that. So here's the secret or a secret. There are many.

Jessica Kerr: Maybe you'll have something you already know that you want to talk about. Great. Write an abstract for that. Run it by friends. Especially if you know anyone who's a conference organizer. And if you don't pin someone on Twitter, you might be surprised people tend to be really helpful about little stuff like reviewing abstracts. That's a quickie that people can feel hopeful with. The trick is to also write some abstracts for stuff you don't know yet but kind of would like to. And there's always more things that we need to learn or want to learn than we have time to learn. Let the conferences pick among those. Write the abstract that says what is interesting about that technology and that you'll show people how to get started and what they can do with it and then whichever abstract gets accepted actually learn the thing.

Kevin Lesht: I love that idea. And circling back to the first point you mentioned as well, the putting an abstract together or at least some focused effort into documenting things right after you learn them. I think that is huge and something I personally need to do a better job about to. I manage a personal goals repo for myself, where I organize, whether it be blog posts, conference talks, I want to give all these things. I can't tell you how many fragments of ideas I have in there that were just headlines that I never took the time upfront, right as I came to that idea, expanding it out, trying to flesh out whatever I was thinking of at the time. And now when I look back at them, I'm removing them from the repo because I don't have eyes into what I was thinking at that time. I feel like yes in the moment, putting in the time and the effort to try to at least spec out, maybe an outline of where you think you're headed with this idea is so important.

Jessica Kerr: Oh yeah. Yeah. Make five sentences. Twenty five sentences is enough for an abstract. Shoot it out and let the organizers pick. Here's the tip at the point where your talk gets accepted because if you send five talks, some conferences might accept three. At the point where they're sending out acceptances and rejections, it is totally fine to say I can't anymore and it's totally fine to say I can only do one because at that point they still have a pile of talks that they can pick from to get other speakers. That does not count as backing out.

Kevin Lesht: I liked that a lot. I have never thought about playing the field in a sense and submitting multiple ideas. I have always been just one and done, but that angle I think is great. Yeah. Because to your point then too, if many are accepted, then you really have much more freedom in picking the topic that either you are most comfortable talking about or most looking to pursue.

Jessica Kerr: Yeah or interested in. Yeah. Yeah. At that point you can pick among them and just pick the one that you're really in. That's the point.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah, I did get the point you mentioned about maybe putting the five sentences together for an abstract. I thought we could now unpack that a little more and stretch that out into any advice you might have for putting a keynote talk together. We talked about this a little bit. The talk that I actually just finished up writing, we talked about a little bit at the end of Southeast Ruby, which is, I'll frame it out for our listeners. Every day I eat an omelette and I manage an omelette blog that is just hosting a photo of each of these omelettes. Everyday I eat the omelette, I take a picture, I post it to the omelette blog. Some might say that is easy to them. I say not easy enough. I wanted this process to be automated. And what I ended up building was a series of microservices that do everything from fetching the photos out of my Google Photos library to then parsing them for omelettes and then posting them if they are of an omelette to my static site.

Kevin Lesht: And the services is done. It's working out there and I wanted to put a talk together around this, but it was a talk that bundled up like six different micro raps. And after I had scaffolded out the narrative for the talk, the outline, I just felt entirely overwhelmed. I took a step back and I approached things as I would in programming. I ended up breaking down each of the sections into components that I could work on independently. And then I got as far as I could and I tried to just merge them all back together and make things as cohesive as I could. But I think with keynote link talks, to me the sheer number of slides and just the length is sometimes an overwhelming thing to face and I wonder if you could offer us advice for how you go about managing, organizing and producing those longer format talks.

Jessica Kerr: One thing I've learned that surprised me, the longer the talk, the easier it is to write.

Kevin Lesht: Really?

Jessica Kerr: Yeah. Yeah. Because like you mentioned, there's all these sections, there's all these micro apps. You put it all together and I imagine you probably have easy 90 minutes worth of material. You could probably do a whole workshop.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah. I think to me it was finding a way to build a cohesive narrative that was the struggle there. Maybe that's a struggle in all duration formats, but yeah, that was what was difficult for me.

Jessica Kerr: That is the core question of how to write a good conference doc. It's finding that narrative because you need a story. A story is what sticks in people's heads. Now omelets, there's a story there. People like omelettes, they like breakfast and we like posting pictures of food and you also have the story of what drove you to build each piece, where the pain was. It's a tiny pain, but it's still pain to have to go through the steps of uploading it. And that's important. You remember building this app, so it's pretty easy to construct a story around it. And the story is all about why. It's always about, why? What drove me to this? What drives this particular automation, what drives this change and how is it different afterward. And you want to feel the pain at the beginning and you want to feel the celebration at the end or the chagrin sometimes it's andwe learned.

Kevin Lesht: Yes. Yeah. Most times. Yeah.

Jessica Kerr: That also works as a denouement. It does not have to be a happy story, but it does have to be a story. And when it is a story, and especially if you have feelings about it that makes it stick, that makes the information useful to people because they can take it away.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah. I do have some strong feelings about omelettes, so that is a no. That is super helpful and makes me think, yeah, that's good feedback to incorporate. I like the idea of... And I think plays into what we talked about earlier too, building on personal experiences and documenting things very close to after having done them so that you're really able to like capture those feelings and your true experience for others to then learn from. Maybe to flip things around a little bit too, it sounds like for an audience to be engaged, it's good to produce a story out there for those audience members. How can someone attending a conference make the most of their time?

Jessica Kerr: Talk to people. If you don't feel like going to a talk in a particular slot, if you're tired, don't hang out in the hallway, go back to your hotel room and take a nap because you're going to be better off the next day. And it gives what you've learned, time to settle down. You might run into someone and have a fortuitous conversation. Sometimes I'd go to the hotel bar for awhile. Sometimes I get a drink, sometimes I take it back to the conference with me. If the conference is in hotel, that's totally works. Just don't feel like you need to go to every session to maximize your experience. That is not what it's about. But do go to some sessions and also go to at least one that you didn't expect to go to. That you don't have a good reason to go to.

Jessica Kerr: Sometimes I'm still taking notes from the previous session and putting them out on Twitter and I'm like, all right, whatever's in this room next, that's what I'm going to hear. More often I'm talking to somebody, "What session are you going to go do?" "Oh, I'm going to go to this thing because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." "All right, I'll come with you." Part of the value of a conference is finding out what's out there that you didn't know was there.

Kevin Lesht: I mean even where we met Southeast Ruby that was catching up after the event had wrapped up and having conversations with you and some of the other speakers. I enjoyed those conversations just as much in some cases it was just as much as I learned at the conference itself and it was great to just forge those personal connections to, so yes, absolutely. I got to say too, I wanted to circle back. You mentioned something that I had forgotten entirely about, which was following your Twitter feed as the conference progressed, it was really cool to see, I'd never seen this before. You take photos of the speakers and annotating those photos.

Kevin Lesht: That was a really cool way to, not only to capture these talks as they were going on, but to also offer up just the insights that you were taking away as the conference progressed. And maybe that's a good segue too into just your approach to writing in general. I wonder you blog on such an awesome frequency and wondering just as we talked about helping individuals out there find those ideas for maybe talks, I wonder too, what your process looks like for putting a blog post together. Is it very similar in that after you've just worked on something, learn something you then turn to to producing a blog post? Or I guess candidly, where do all the ideas come from?

Jessica Kerr: I realized several weeks ago that I hadn't written much lately. It gets clogged up in my head and I have these big posts in my head that I want to make, but it's so hard to make them until I have submitted them as an abstract. And now I have a deadline, which is the conference. That's where the Camerata talk came from. And I told myself, "Okay, Jess you need to write something every day." So I theoretically blog every day. Really it's about twice a week, but it's fine. But the point is, I want my little posts to be one or two minute reads, so that takes the pressure off. They need to be one idea. When I start to write something and it starts to get long, I'm like, "Stop Jess, this is more than one thing. Publish the one thing and maybe then an additional thing separately if you want to."

Jessica Kerr: I try to make them like a little over a page long maybe. And that takes the pressure off and they're just one idea. One thought, I read this thing, I had this thought about it, get it out there. Also tweeting is good practice for this and you don't even have to do threads. Just like one tweet. It was even better when tweets were half as long because you just... Well also, that makes it really good practice for your writing style. Removing unnecessary words.

Kevin Lesht: Totally, yes.

Jessica Kerr: Oh, Oh. And it doesn't need to be your idea. Blog someone else's idea and say what you think is cool about it. That makes you part of that idea because you're spreading it, you're adding to it, you're enriching it and that's great. You mentioned the taking a picture of the speaker or the slides and annotating it and throwing it up on Twitter, this is why people follow me on Twitter. It's not for my content or at least not only, it's for everyone else's content that I distill down and throw up there in a trip to the bathroom sized chunk.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah, yeah.

Jessica Kerr: Yeah, the answer to writing is really just keep it small, get it out there and then once in awhile I'll have something longer or something out of a talk and I'll spend more time and write a real post. But a lot of the stuff that goes into the real posts and into the real talks is stuff that I've tested out in tweets. I'm about to build a blog post out of a Twitter thread that I did and then it it'll work its way into my next talk. These things build up, but test it out in little stuff. Also in conversations with people in the hallway, conferences and meetups with your coworkers.

Kevin Lesht: I love that advice. I like the idea too of leveraging each of these bigger sized mediums as your own focus groups. Maybe start something out as a tweet and then it graduates into a blog post and then maybe from there there's an idea for something of longer format, whether it be a longer essay blog post or a talk. As far as developing that productivity, right in line with that, I thought we could talk to and segue into things that individuals, whether it's in their personal pursuits or on teams. Things that they can be doing to foster a productive environment and to draw from one of your blog posts along with this thread, which we can also make sure to link in the show notes, but it's from your writing on a basic compact.

Kevin Lesht: And I wanted to read back a quote of yours that just resonated with me super deeply and it's something that I see as a critical part of building successful teams as well. And that is teamwork is about letting people know when it's harder than you expect it to be. Keeping each other together and not swallowing errors, but letting each other know when you need to essentially get help, to reach out for help. Yes, I'd be curious to learn about your perspective on what individuals and teams can be doing to just promote a productive environment and an environment where developers can experience just a smoothness in their work.

Jessica Kerr: Yeah. The quote that you mentioned about teamwork is about telling each other when things get hard, that as opposed to making your commitments just work harder. Teamwork is not, "Oh my gosh, this is taking longer than I thought. I need to work all the way through the night so that I don't let my team down." No, you were letting your team down right there because you're working as an individual. Teamwork is not keeping your promises. Teamwork is keeping each other up to date. When you realize that you're not going to be able to keep your promise, maybe you're sick, maybe your dog died or that this happens so often in software, there's some complication that we didn't see. As a team we want to be reliable. We want people to be able to count on the team, but an individual human, and especially when we're writing software, which we can't predict everything that's going to happen.

Jessica Kerr: No, individual humans are inherently not reliable. We have problems, we have vacations, we have children, we have car accidents. So lean on your team and let your team lean on you. When someone else gets a question in Slack and you know they're not in that day, try to answer the question. Just keep an eye out for each other and keep each other informed. All of this is based on, we have responsibilities as a team because we have some hope of actually fulfilling them. An individual can't be on call 24/7 every week. That's very unhealthy, but a team can. Sure we can make a rotation, no big deal and we can trade off when we need to. So when the team has responsibility, this changes your individual motivations too. It changes your incentives and makes them healthier.

Jessica Kerr: If the goal is for the teams to succeed, then you are going to answer the questions of the other people on your team. You're going to sit down and pair with them when they don't know how to do this thing and you do, especially if it's on the system that you built and they're trying to learn. You're you going to spend the time to spread the knowledge among the team because the whole team will function better. If your only criteria at work is how many tickets did I personally close, you can't have this healthy collaborative environment.

Jessica Kerr: I used the word generativity for this but as opposed to productivity. If you look at personal productivity you can't have teamwork except when you deliberately leave aside your own interest. And you shouldn't have to ask people to do that. Generativity is about how are my actions helping the team as a whole and not just the team today but the team in the future. How is this making us into a team that can do more. Answering questions is great for that. Giving conference talks is great for that and generativity lets you care about each other and stop acting like you're supposed to be this super person.

Kevin Lesht: I love that advice and I think yes to your point, that generativity can manifest in so many different ways. It's funny, just earlier today, this afternoon, a developer in Slack posted a snippet, document.javaScript snippet, you can paste into your console. document.designmode equals on. And I'd never been exposed to this before, but what's this lets you do, they posted a quick video and so this was just like a 22nd video that they posted into Slack with the comment checkout mode on. And what this does is it lets you edit any text on the page and it's a game changer.

Jessica Kerr: Is that in Chrome?

Kevin Lesht: Yeah. It might just be a Chrome feature. I haven't looked at it too deeply just yet, but I thought it was so cool and it's a game changer for, just being able to quickly see how a copy changes might render out onto the page. But circling back, just little things even like that. As you learn something, whether it's, yeah, putting a quick little GIF together that you relate to your team with. Even if it's like... This was a one sentence tutorial, check out mode, but otherwise a conference talk pairing. We hit on so many things there. Generativity, I love adopting that concept.

Jessica Kerr: Cool. Here's another starting point like design medicals on, that's very cool. You can tweet the one sentence version of it. You can put a tiny blog post out with the screenshot or a GIF and that's fantastic. Anything that in the course of your work, trips you up and when you Google it, you don't immediately find the right answer. Needs a blog post written on it.

Kevin Lesht: Yes. That is an amazing way to, I think, find a seam, into yes, into the world of just like content production there. Absolutely.

Jessica Kerr: Yeah. Whatever you typed into Google, put that text in your post, make sure that text appears for those who are SEO right there, and then put the solution in there and it does not need to be long. More than once in my life, I have Googled something, and Google has taken me to my own blog post from like three years ago.

Kevin Lesht: That is great.

Jessica Kerr: Thank you past me. That was a good idea.

Kevin Lesht: That is amazing. Yes. Coming all the way through conference, speaking, writing, producing, all of this content. One question I had for you too was you're involved in so many projects, so much work outside of work. I was curious about what you do when you're feeling overwhelmed or overextended? How you manage all of these various things that you're engaged with?

Jessica Kerr: Yeah, that's a good question. Ironically I loved programming as a career when I started because I could put it down at 5:30 and not worry about it as opposed to college for there was all homework. And all of this extracurricular stuff I do because I love it. I enjoy speaking because I enjoy the entire process. You mentioned earlier that you enjoy the entire process of making this podcast. And that's a great reason to do something. Some things you just have to try it before, you know whether you love it and try it a couple of times so it's not scary. And then if nothing else, you've learned that you can do that thing, but you may find out you love it and then that's why I do it.

Jessica Kerr: Sometimes I get mad at myself for having signed up for stuff and then it's crunch time. Oh, but another beauty about conference talks, they have real deadlines. Wherever the talk is, when it's time to give it, it's done. It doesn't matter how far that is from where I hoped it would be. It's done.

Kevin Lesht: Yes.

Jessica Kerr: I'm delivering it now and that is what it is and that's what it's going to be.

Kevin Lesht: To use a quote that has guesses, certainly turned into maybe a little bit of a cliche, but it's so true. The perfection is the enemy of good work. Yeah. Those are hard deadlines I think are allies at times for just that, just driving things forward.

Jessica Kerr: Oh yeah. Yeah. John Cutler would call that a healthy enabling constraints.

Kevin Lesht: A healthy enabling constraint.

Jessica Kerr: Yes. But there is a time limit where you just call it done, because darn it, you shouldn't spend your whole life on this.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah. It seems like the underlying theme of our show here, whether it's playing the flute or getting on stage to act in a play, to give a conference talk is to follow your passions and to act on them.

Jessica Kerr: Oh, oh, hints. Follow your passions is sometimes deceptive. We can't predict what we're going to enjoy. We can't predict what's going to make us happy. We can't predict what's going to make that connection for us, that brings us to our next job that we love and just takes us to a whole new places in our career. Randomness is good. Try some stuff, find out what really gets you excited and also those things that you don't enjoy doing, but you're so glad you did it. Blog posts wind up in that category sometimes. And yeah, you'll learn. This is agile, right? This is complex system and it's symmathesy, we don't know where the best direction is. So pick something and then observe what happens and then react to that.

Kevin Lesht: Yes. I appreciate, thank you for challenging me there. I was ready to just end on follow your passions, right? But I think the real takeaway maybe is put yourself out there. Maybe a better one.

Jessica Kerr: Let the passions find you.

Kevin Lesht: Yeah, yeah. I can get down with it. One last quick thing to hit on, you just mentioned the word symmathesy you know what? We're going to have to, I feel like schedule another one in the future because so much more to talk about. But could you give us just a quick look into what symmathesy is before we close out the show?

Jessica Kerr: Symmathesy is a learning system made of learning parts. So your team for instance, is a symmathesy because every one of you is constantly learning and you learn from each other. The interactions within the system produce, learning and the pieces of the system and that is how the team as a whole learns and is able to do more. And in software we have like extra bonus symmathesy because the software's also learning from us as we change it, and we learn from it, from what really happens in the real world and what people actually need.

Kevin Lesht: To learn more about symmathesy and all of the topics that Jess and I have talked about here, hit the show notes. We'll have links to all of it. Just before we close out, do you have any parting words for our listeners out there?

Jessica Kerr: You know what, that cartoon with the dog and the flames with the coffee cup and he's like, this is fine. Well, life really usually is fine. It always seems like it's on fire. Now with software you might actually be able to determine whether it's really on fire or not. But the thing is if you don't have more to do than you want to do something's wrong. We should always have more things that we want do and are excited about that we can possibly do in the time we have. So that's not a negative. Your to do list should be impossible. Just let the conference organizers pick or randomness pick and a lot of those things will fall off and that's also great. This is fine.

Kevin Lesht: On more things to do. I think more conversation between you and me. We'll have to book another one because yes, there's just so much more to talk about. But for now, Jess, thank you for joining. Appreciate your time.

Jessica Kerr: Thank you Kevin.

Kevin Lesht: For show notes and more on this episode. Hit on up to the site that's While you're there, check out our release notes. This is a short newsletter that we send out about once a week. It includes updates along with all other goodies packaged out for your inbox. Thanks for listening for the Day as a Dev Podcast. I'm Kevin Lesht.