Episode 249  on December 11, 2017Behind the Screens

Behind the Screens with Rick Manelius

Drud Tech's Rick Manelius tells us all about their Docker solution to development, Drud, the importance of getting away from the work, cycling through the Rockies, and avoiding imposter syndrome.

Transcript

Chris:
Alright, here at BADCamp, going behind the screens with Rick Manelius from Drud Tech. Hey Rick!
Rick:
How's it going Chris?
Chris:
Very well! So, how are you liking BADCamp so far?
Rick:
Pretty good turnout this year. I haven't in as many camps as of late but it's always nice to see this one strong, at least 1000 plus. Some very good energy here.
Chris:
I agree. And so, what's happening with Drud Tech right now?
Rick:
Well, we've been in sort of silent mode for the last few years, really building a lot of tools and tooling for developers. This is kind of our coming out party. We were just present at Drupal Camp Colorado a few months ago. This is sort of our first big splash, as well as all things open next week and we're really trying to get end-user feedback with sort of our first release of products.
Chris:
What sort of products do you have coming out?
Rick:
Our first one is called DDev. It's actually made to make local development easy, to basically plug in to multiple front ends. So, WordPress, Drupal, we'll eventually have support for Typo3, Magento etc. And, also to plug into multiple back ends. We want this not to just be a tool that works with us and our products. We know that our customers and our end users sometimes have multiple hosting options. We want it to sort of plug in to both the front end CMS world and also back end hosting providers and make that a seamless process for those needing a local-based Docker environment.
Chris:
Aha. So kind of taking the...for me Docker's been a really big challenge to try and get something to get working especially on my Mac.
Rick:
Yes.
Chris:
So you're taking all that hard legwork out of the way and sort of putting it together into a more easily manageable...like I could set it up and go without having to learn how it works on the back end so much.
Rick:
Absolutely. If you think about it like a corollary to the Drupal community. Drupal core can do so much, and with the contributor you can do even that much more. But a lot of people only use a fraction of what Drupal can provide, especially some of the lower end site-building sites. A lot of people just need to know that it just works and if they need to get behind the covers and see things, they can. We try to distract away all that ... we kind of glue it all together for you so that out of the box you can get up and running in minutes. For the advanced user that really needs to go back and tweak things and modify it for themselves, it's an open source project. You can add PRs, you can tweak things, you can extend it the way you want. Hopefully you can contribute it back but you don't have to. For those that want to take Docker to the extreme, they can. But it helps the use case from, just the person that wants something to work and get up and running with Docker fast, to the advanced power user that wants to really push Docker to it's limits.
Chris:
Awesome, that's really cool. If somebody wanted to find out more or wanted to participate in the project, where would they go to do that?
Rick:
Everything is on our GitHub account, so GitHub.com/Drud is the company name space, then "/DDev". Obviously hit us up on the Drupal community slack channels. We're very active on those conversations. File some issues or just find us that way.
Chris:
Very good. Now let's just say hypothetically that this was all done, tomorrow you woke up and the product was on, it didn't need any more work. What's your pet project, what would you work on on your own if you didn't have to do the work right now?
Rick:
On my own if I didn't have to work for the company?
Chris:
Yeah.
Rick:
I don't think the work is done. I think the, sort of the Holy Grail is developers being able to spend as much of their time developing, building, designing, creating, and less of their time working on the things before the work. That's kind of a big driving force for me. If you look at the culture of the web and software engineering space, you have a lot of people having to spend a lot of their time after hours keeping up continuous education just to keep up with where the industry's going. That can be very stressful. We are human beings and we need to have free time, we need to be able to disconnect from all this technology. For me, I still think there's a big cultural shift that's needed in a state where we can disconnect, we can, sort of put things down and we have interests outside of our nine-to-five jobs but it's not required just to keep up with things. So, my pet project would not necessarily be technology-wise or software, but more trying to help companies realize that they can get all the things that they need to get done, done, and then still have meaningful lives outside of work.
Chris:
That is a very noble cause. It's something I completely agree with and I can sympathize with that. I'm lucky enough to work for a company that supports that same mantra and gives us the time to, you know, "be you" and to be ourselves, to be a person, and still get the work done. Honestly, when you take that time for yourself the work gets done quicker and better.
Rick:
Yeah, it's funny. It's the whole, technology...it's like the flying cars in 20 years from now. Technology is supposed to be this grand thing where all the machines are going to do all the things for us and yet there's more technology and we're doing more things with the machines. We haven't really met that nirvana that we're looking for. I think proper workflows in tooling, I mean, the promise of DevOps through the camps, the culture, automation, measure and systems. You can spend 90 to 95% of your time creating value, working on the hard problems and not all the firefighting. Unfortunately, the reality is if you look at the DevOps survey, the Puppet survey etc., a lot of people are adopting those and becoming high performers. But a lot of people's workday is still 30 to 40% of the time based on their actual studies and statistics triaging and break-fixing and so forth. That's just not a way to work. It drains on you morally, it drains on you energetically. There's a better way to do all these things so we hope to be part of that soln with the stuff that we're doing and not just saddened by the fact that they're not able to get to their work.
Chris:
So if you could give one piece of advice to somebody who's ... you've had a long time in the industry now and you're helping to run this company. One piece of advice to somebody who's maybe struggling with that idea where they're constantly pounding their head or trying to get into the right space.
Rick:
I'm an engineer, so part of the engineering mindset is, "I have to figure this all out myself, or I have to be the best and brightest in the room." Because there's sort of this competitiveness. I feel like there's a fear, "Imposter's syndrome" has been a big term that's been described in this space, in the software space for the last 3 to 5 years has become more common. I feel like it's still not embraced as much as it should because, frankly, there's too much out there for any one person to know. We have to lean on each other, we have to say, "I'm a novice at these things." Even if your a very senior-level person, you have to just say, "I don't know everything. I can't know everything. I need to reach out and lean on friends, colleagues and other solutions to fill this gap as opposed to trying to figure it out myself."
I think myself and others, I've seen trying to drown trying to learn it all, be it all, be that expert, and that is again a very debilitating thing. I would say, my advice to anyone starting off is, be open, be vulnerable earlier. Those that are a little bit further along the path will actually respect that more because they've been there, they've been burned, and just that openness and honesty that you show up with, it's really necessary to have open dialogue as opposed to, "I'll figure it out and I'll work an all-nighter and burn myself out doing it over and over again."
Chris:
I think what you said about the "Imposter syndrome," it can be very intimidating for us to ask for help from these people who, maybe their names we see all over the place.
Rick:
Yes.
Chris:
It's getting past that. It's not being afraid to ask, and honestly, once you do that and you realize how open and receptive the community is, it's a game-changer.
Rick:
Yeah. Just to speak to the Drupal community as a whole, I think one of the problems we have is, we are a very maturing community, we've been going for 15 years now I think. The challenge is we still respect the elders of the community, the people who have been here 10 plus years and have done such great things. But we need people who are ready to sort of infill and help sort of be the next generation of those in this community to do that. But it's hard when they feel "Imposter syndrome." They'll never be the CHX, the Randy Faye, the CyberSwat, the Moshe. There are some of these names that, they're so big they're intimidating. They need to not be that. They're just people, they love to be, the energy that you'll feel by walking around the conference from those people, they're very approachable. You could be that as well. But if you feel "Imposter syndrome," you'll never going to take that chance, you're never going to contribute, never going to show up and give a talk.
We've had people at my company that have been doing development for 8 years and think that they still don't have anything to offer at a camp and they show up. The community embraces those contributions and they realize, "Wow, I actually have a voice to share, a thought to share, something to give back." I think that that's huge.
Chris:
So let's take this one step further now. So you live in Colorado, Denver area.
Rick:
Yep.
Chris:
Which is very outdoorsy type of, get back to nature area. So what do you do to let your brain rest?
Rick:
I love ... I used to do a lot of sports, I used to do track, soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, all those things. Unfortunately, I have an injury. I broke my foot and I have six screws in my left ankle.
Chris:
Oh, man!
Rick:
So my doctor said cycling is the only thing I can do safely so, man, I love road cycling. There's a lot of great races out in Colorado. Unfortunately one of them this year is canceled, it's called "The Triple Bypass," it's 120 miles each way, about 10,000 feet of elevation gained, starting in Morrison and ending around Vail. It's just gorgeous, to have all these mountains, and kind of like Drupal a very vibrant community of cyclists. The thing about cycling is you can just really just zone out and enjoy the beauty of nature. I'll do 80 miles on a weekend just because it's fun.
Chris:
That's incredible. Finally, is there anybody that you would want to thank or share some gratitude towards who might have given you a push or a little help along the way when you needed it?
Rick:
Well, I could mention Greg Knaddison, just a phenomenal individual, tirelessly helping the Drupal security team even when he passed the baton on to Michael Hess who has also been phenomenal. Security ain't easy and security ain't really prioritized or appreciated as much and Greg, even though he's helping run a company, he continues to give back to the community years after you'd expect him to sort of retire and sort of enjoy things, so big props to Greg.
Chris:
Yeah I've met Greg on a number of occasions, he's also a local Denver guy. I'll agree, he's a good member of the community, a real special guy.
Rick:
Absolutely.
Chris:
Awesome. Alright Rick, thank you very much, this has been great!
Rick:
Thank you, appreciate the time!
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