Mike Anello tells us what he's learned after 8 years of the DrupalEasy podcast, the value of community training, and how he relaxes away from the screen.

If you missed his Drupal 8 configuration management training at BADCamp, you can catch it at DrupalCamp Atlanta.  DrupalEasy is also teaming up with Pantheon to deliver a 6 week course "Mastering Professional Drupal Developer Workflows with Pantheon."

This Episode's Guest

Mike Anello

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Co-founder and vice president of DrupalEasy, a Drupal training and consulting firm based in Central Florida.

Transcript

Transcript

Chris Albrecht:
We're here today going behind the screens with Mike Anello from DrupalEasy. Mike, you also have a podcast.
Mike Anello:
I might have a podcast, yeah.
Chris Albrecht:
So I decided, I saw you walking through the halls and I needed to grab you, and we're going to do the meta-podcast, a podcast about the podcast. First of all, if people don't know, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mike Anello:
Sure. I'm Mike Anello. My drupal.org username is ultimike. Been in the community for about 11 years. I'm a Drupal developer and trainer, and I do the DrupalEasy podcast.
Chris Albrecht:
Excellent. How long have you been doing that podcast?
Mike Anello:
Number of years. I'd have to go back and look, but I'm thinking maybe eight years. I know we're almost to 196th 7th episode, somewhere up there, so closing in on our 200th episode.
Chris Albrecht:
Wow, that's a heck of a career in that. I remember listening to your podcast when I was first starting out. I had, there's a bunch of them in my playlist trying to get up to speed at Lullabot. I had DrupalEasy in there. Not sure if [inaudible 00:00:55] was around at that time, but yeah, you guys always had good stuff. Tell us a little bit about the podcast. What do you talk about there? Why should somebody jump over and listen to that one?
Mike Anello:
Yeah, it's one of those things where it's kind of morphed over the years and matured and changed. We tend to focus on a recap of what's going on in the community since the previous podcast. We do interviews. For me, it's all about, there's a lot of people in the community who don't obsessively check Drupal Planet or follow bunch of Drupal contributors on Twitter or other social media, so the idea of the podcast is if you listen to our podcast, that should get you up to speed and help you keep your finger on the pulse of the community.
Chris Albrecht:
So it's evolved over the years. What's your biggest takeaway that you've learned as you've been interviewing people and doing this podcast over time?
Mike Anello:
I'd say the biggest takeaway is always assume, try and put myself in the shoes of the listener who, I might have deep knowledge on a particular topic, but our listeners may not. Helping the interviewee connect with the listener, and maybe taking a step back and helping the interviewee explain something in a way that is as accessible to the biggest number of listeners as possible.
Chris Albrecht:
Yeah, that makes sense. I see that. So we're out here at BADCamp. You had a training that you did on Thursday morning. How did that go?
Mike Anello:
Yeah, it was great. Lucky enough to get invited by the organizers to do a full day training on Drupal 8 configuration system basics. It's something I've taught a few times to my own students. This is the first time I've given it in a public setting. Thought it went really well. It was geared towards beginners who are new to the config system. Geared towards folks who maybe are familiar with Drupal 7 features, and are already building Drupal 8 sites, but haven't made that leap to using the configuration system. So we cover a lot of the basics, cover a lot of best practices, talk about setting up a good process so that you can go to other configuration management sessions or read blog posts and have that solid foundation of knowledge to build upon.
Chris Albrecht:
Excellent. So if somebody wasn't able to make it here and attend the training here, is there another place they could find your resources to get up to speed and get that base knowledge?
Mike Anello:
Yeah, well, I'll promote ... I'm going to be giving the same training at DrupalCamp Atlanta in November. I forget the dates off the top of my head. The training I gave is actually part of one of our long form training programs. It's one that we do in conjunction with Pantheon, so it's kind of an intermediate level six week course called DrupalEasy + Pantheon, where we cover things like using Composer to get started with a Drupal 8 site, using Solr with search API, using some of the Pantheon specific platform environments, environment features, I should say. It's nothing we've given online public yet, but I foresee that this will be the training I'm giving at Drupal events when I'm available and offered.
Chris Albrecht:
Yeah, so the partnership with Pantheon and that six week training course, how does somebody attend one of those? How do I ...
Mike Anello:
Yeah, it's all online. You go to DrupalEasy.com and the information's all there. You sign up. Check out the curriculum. Make sure it's for you. Very similar to our 12 week program, which we've been doing for five, six years. I forget how many years we've been doing that.
Chris Albrecht:
Very cool. How has BADCamp been for you overall this year?
Mike Anello:
It's like any other Drupal event. I kind of know what I'm getting into going in. I tend to do a training and give a session, and see a lot of people, and get up early, and stay out not super late. I'm not someone to stay out super late, but I know that when I get on the plane tomorrow morning, it's going to be nap time for me. It's always great to see old friends and meet new people, and push my knowledge a little bit further.
Chris Albrecht:
Yeah, it's been fun. This is my first BADCamp, so hanging out with some of the people that I hadn't met before, and now doing the podcast, getting to meet new people, and I just, it's been really fun hearing stories as we're hanging out in a group, and then wanting to know more, so I can just put the microphone out there, and really get that out of people. That's been a lot of fun for me.
If there's somebody who's a little unsure about, "Should I sign up for a training?" Or, "I'm not sure what the right way is to go about getting into something?" Or, "How do I get the base knowledge? Is it worth it?" What kind of advice would you give for somebody who might be on the fence and not sure about how to approach it?
Mike Anello:
I think Drupal camp trainings are precisely what that's for. Most of them are low cost. I know here at BADCamp, it's 25 bucks for a full day training.
Chris Albrecht:
That's pretty awesome.
Mike Anello:
I don't charge that to my clients. That's a pretty good deal. I can't really think of a better way than attending a Drupal event that has these low cost trainings. It's kind of win-win. I do it because it helps promote my bigger paid trainings, and for people who are interested in learning more about a particular topic, all you're giving up is your time. You're going to have to spend that time learning it anyway, so you might as well do it in a structured environment, with other people who want to learn.
Chris Albrecht:
Yeah. That's great advice. I think so, for $25, you really can't beat that price.
Mike Anello:
Yeah, yeah.
Chris Albrecht:
So we've talked a little bit about the code, a little bit about the podcast and the trainings and everything. Let's flip it over away from the tech for a minute. What would you do if you woke up tomorrow, and the Internet was just gone?
Mike Anello:
Yeah, I think it would definitely be something with my hands or my body. Something other than just with my brain. I know that when I need to push back from my laptop and stuff, that's where I go first. I go out to my garage and I build something that we need for the house, or I fix something up, or I go outside and work in the yard. It gives me a charge to do that, and I find myself watching a lot of TV shows, like This Old House and stuff like that. I definitely think something very tactile.
Chris Albrecht:
So don't let your wife listen to the podcast thing, because she's actually going to turn off the Internet, and you have to start fixing everything in your house then.
Mike Anello:
That's fine. As long as we pay our bills, I'm happy to take that on.
Chris Albrecht:
That's great. I think I'd probably do something very similar. To not have that distraction of the screens. Yeah, it feels good to get out and just get hands on with stuff.
We've all come up through the community in some form or another. Most of us have had some help along the way. Is there anybody you can think of that you'd like to say thank you to, or share some gratitude with who maybe gave you a push when you needed it?
Mike Anello:
Yeah, it's probably ... It's funny, because the person I'm going to mention's probably never going to hear this, but I'll have to tell her about it. It's probably my wife, mainly because I was raised in a way ... My dad worked for the federal government. Very safe job. I was raised in a way that I should get a good, safe job. Work 8 to 5. Low risk. That's what I started doing out of college. I was a research scientist for a few years, working full-time for a government organization.
It was really my wife who basically saw that I was really interested in web development and learning all this stuff, and seeing that I could make money on nights and weekends, and seeing that I much preferred that work to what I was doing full-time, who really said, "Look, we're married. We have two incomes. We have no kids. If you're ever going to work for yourself, now's the time to start." So she kind of pushing me in that direction, and getting me over the fear of it. Originally our plan was to both work for ourselves until we had kids and got them into kindergarten. My kids are now in high school, and I still don't have a real job.
Chris Albrecht:
That's pretty awesome right there. You got to love that about this industry. You can really make ... You can do whatever you want. You can think very laterally, and come up with these new creative ways to bring income in and work from home. The day that I have to actually put real pants on, it's like, "Man, it's going to be a busy day."
Well, Mike, thanks a lot for taking a few minutes to talk today. This has been really cool, and definitely go check out the DrupalEasy podcast. Look for the trainings. Get out to your local camps, and check it out.
Mike Anello:
All right, thanks, Chris.

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About host Chris Albrecht

Chris Albrecht
His backend brings all the nerds to the code. Skilled in Drupal development and architecture, you can often find him running through the Colorado wilderness and hosting the Behind the Screens podcast.