Hackernoon logoFrom Farm To Data - A Tech Career in Product Marketing (Podcast Transcript) by@amymtom

From Farm To Data - A Tech Career in Product Marketing (Podcast Transcript)

Amy Tom talks to Matt Groves, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Couchbase, and Rob Hedgpeth, Developer Advocate at MariaDB about their careers. The trio gets REAL about starting from the bottom, working too hard, and learning along the way. Matt recalls being a paperboy and Rob reminisces about his days on the farm. Rob got a computer science degree after learning how to code on a TRS-80 computer from a book as a kid. Matt's advice for an aspiring product marketing manager is to learn from other developers who are willing to teach you.
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@amymtomAmy Tom

Your Hacker Noon Editor & Pod Host. I'm also a businesswoman, diversity advocate, and true crime lover ✌️

Amy Tom talks to Matt Groves, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Couchbase, and Rob Hedgpeth, Developer Advocate at MariaDB about their careers. Rob and Matt are former coworkers from Couchbase; they reminisce about their career paths and their time working together. The trio gets REAL about starting from the bottom, working too hard, and learning along the way.

In this episode, Amy, Matt, and Rob discuss:

  • Their very first jobs. Matt recalls being a paperboy and Rob reminisces about his days on the farm (1:23)
  • Their education paths. Matt got a computer science degree after learning how to code on a TRS-80 computer from a book as a kid. Rob was the first one in his family to go to college; he got a Bachelor's in Computer Science from Missouri State. That lead him to eventually become a Developer Advocate (4:40)
  • Matt's book, AOP in .NET. Amy asks about his publishing story and authoring process (10:20)
  • Rob's book, R2DBC Revealed. Rob talks about his experience with publishing; he got approached by a publisher after giving a talk (14:44)
  • Rob's experience as a Developer Advocate, and the importance of establishing credibility and solving problems (20:50)
  • Matt's advice for an aspiring Product Marketing Manager is to learn from other developers who are willing to teach you and to network with your peers (27:37)
  • If Matt could give his former self from 10 years ago some career advice, he'd tell himself to pause to ask, "do you really want to do this?" (30:27)
  • Rob's advice to his former self is to RELAX more and to stress less. This is the advice he'd give himself from 10 years ago and also from 6 months ago. Very relatable (32:15)

Follow Matt Groves & Rob Hedgpeth:


Machine Generated Transcript (Please Excuse The Errors)

Amy: [00:00:00] a few episodes ago. We recorded an episode with Matt Ingenthrone and I introduced the episode saying that you could slide a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Only now to have just been tweeted by Matt so that he could let me know that people think that I'm sliding babies in their microwave, because I said slide that baby in their microwave, referring to the popcorn bag.

So I just want to clear the air that I'm not putting any literal babies in the microwave. I am not a huge round of kids, but I would never put a baby into the microwave just saying. Anyways, this is the hacker noon podcast. And my name is Amy. Tom. I am delighted to be joined today by Matt Groves again from Couchbase back for his second episode.

And by Rob Hedgepath from Maria DB. So. Matt today. I want to go into more about your career and talk about how you got to where you got to today. So to start off, I want to mention that you are the product marketing manager at Couchbase. How long have you been working there? 

Matt: [00:01:10] I've been working at Couchbase for over five years now.

It's hard to believe, but a long time, I haven't always been a, uh, product marketing manager, but I've been there for over five years. 

Amy: [00:01:22] And I want to ask you, what was your very first job ever? 

Matt: [00:01:26] My very first job, like even when I was in high school, like how far back we going? Oh gosh, how far you've come on your journey.

I think this is going to be probably foreign to a lot of listeners, but I used to go door to door and I drop off these like sort of pieces of like large bricks of paper with like news stories on them. And then people would pay for that.

Yeah, that was a paper boys. What they called it.

Amy: [00:01:57] Interesting. Okay. All right. Yeah. In Canada we have that, but like you pay for the subscription ahead of time and then someone, the paper boy brings you your news door to door. 

Matt: [00:02:09] That's what it was. That's what it was. I was just crying. I was just being kind of silly, but, but yes, yes.

I was a paper delivery person. Yeah.

Rob: [00:02:16] Sounds like you were getting money under the table 

Amy: [00:02:18] like it must've been a hard to sell the daily newspaper every day door to door. That's difficult. Okay, cool. And Rob, how long have you been working as a developer advocate? 

Rob: [00:02:32] Yeah. So as a developer advocate, I've been working for, I guess, about two or I guess almost four years now, my actually worked with, with Matt at Couchbase before starting at Marie DB.

So I, uh, there've been a couple of different places working to develop. 

Amy: [00:02:49] Okay. And what was your very first job?

Rob: [00:02:54] I guess, dating all the way back. So I actually grew up on a farm and so, uh, we had, my grandpa had, you know, about 200 head of cattle. Um, and you know, it was kind of self-sustaining, so you'd have like hay season during the summer.

And so my first job was driving a tractor for $5 an hour. Um, and you know, in the sweltering, Southern Missouri heat and humidity, uh, my grandpa loved it cause I'm pretty sure he didn't pay taxes on any of that. I loved it cause you know, I hadn't ever gotten money before and I didn't really know there was much better jobs.

Amy: [00:03:26] Wait, what was the purpose of driving the tractor? Was there like a mower attached to it or something? 

Rob: [00:03:31] Well, Hey, it's kind of a, it's kind of a step-by-step process. Right? First you'll cut the grass or the hay, then it dries. And you, you do something called tethering where you essentially will spread it out to the sun will dry it.

Uh, then you, you can rake it up into wind rows, and then you come in finally again with a Baylor. And you can create like round bales or square bales. Yeah. It's all process to be able to do it.

Amy: [00:03:53] I love that. I love that you have come such a different direction then to get into tech and develop for advocacy.

Is he from farming and driving tractor? 

Rob: [00:04:03] Once I found, once I found out that you can get paid to work with computers and not be outside with a tractor, I was all about it.

It's not too far off from the thing doesn't pan out. Yeah, yeah. Right. Gonna make some hay, I guess, for some animals. 

Amy: [00:04:26] Okay, cool. So, Matt, after you finished doing the paper, boy, what did you do for schooling? Oh, gosh. So my high school, I went to a very rural school where everybody probably knew what Rob was just talking about just now, except for me.

Matt: [00:04:46] And we had basically two computer programming classes period, and it was on basic programming. And I had already known that. So not much in the way of high school education there in terms of computers, but then I went off to a university, got a computer science degree, then eventually gotten to a, uh, my first programming job.

Amy: [00:05:05] How did you learn how to code originally? 

Matt: [00:05:09] Oh gosh. So this is probably a story you've heard a million times, but my dad brought home my old, uh, like a TRS 80 computer gave me a little bit of instructions, how to write basic, gave me a book. And then I was off to the races and I surpassed him pretty quickly and his, his knowledge of, of programming.

And I just loved doing it. And I said, this is what I want to do for a living. And, uh, just kept pursuing that and working with computers and then just kept going in that realm. And what was your first job? Well, so again, my first job out of school was around 2003, 2002, something like that. And in three, and which was, there was kind of a job market issue at the time.

Cause the Y2K thing was just over. So actually didn't start right away as a programmer. I was actually a cable guy, so I was a paper boy and then a cable guy. For a year, but that was actually really interesting job. Also a job I'd love to fall back on someday. Cause I was in good shape. I was a, you know, I was learning about technology and the process.

So that's what I, that's what I did for a while. And I was searching for that first program at job all the whole time. But that was my first, like full-time, I'm married. I have my own place type of job. 

Amy: [00:06:20] Okay. And Rob back to you, where did you go to school? 

Rob: [00:06:25] Uh, so I went to school in Southern, Missouri at the time was called Southwest, Missouri state university.

And then about halfway through, they got a name change, and now they're just Missouri state university. Got my bachelor's in computer science, minor in math, physics, and religious studies of all things, because I started as a political science major. I was the first person out of. My entire extended family that had ever even gone to college.

And so I knew of two professions from college, uh, a doctor and a lawyer. And I had just asked like, well, to become a doctor. So how, what do I do to become a lawyer? And somebody said, you know, go do political science. So I did that for about a year and I hated it. I hate it classes. And then I decided to look around and I switched to computer science and then they always.

It was definitely a journey getting through school. Right. Cause I had taken a year off from anything math, physics, or really anything analytical or, you know, you know, being able to think in that, that way, uh, for about a year and then, you know, Got through school and then things kind of off to the races at that point.

Amy: [00:07:33] So, you really came from a farm background then? 

Rob: [00:07:38] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I mean, my, I, you know, my, my dad now has taken over the, since taken over the farm. I don't think it's going to be me. That takes it over next. So yeah, I mean, I, I came from several generations of cattle, farmers or ranchers, I guess some people call them, but yeah.

Uh, yeah. That's and then went into school with absolutely. I probably could ask some more questions before I went to college, but I didn't. And so then, yeah, I just, uh, finally landed in computer science. 

Amy: [00:08:02] Your, your college experience kind of sounds like my nightmare as well, because I'm not a math person, not a science person.

Can't do any of that stuff. I think I would have really struggled. I went to school for business, so definitely more business and marketing minded than math in. Science minded for sure. 

Rob: [00:08:23] Well, it, it definitely wasn't, it definitely wasn't easy. I mean, there was a lots of, you know, two, 3:00 AM, uh, computer lab maths.

Cause you know, we didn't, I didn't have a computer of my own, even at that point. So you just spend all your time in a computer lab, uh, you know, working with net beans or whatever compiler, you know, happened to be on that machine. And what was your first job after schooling? So actually, so during school I am I, my senior year, I actually did this full time internship.

So it was taking about 15 hours, I guess, both last two semesters and took this internship, you know, this hourly internship for, at a place called paper-wise, which did like some document processing type of stuff. So that was my first job, I guess, kind of started during my last year. And then after that internship ended, I interviewed around a couple of places and then started a place called educational benchmarking.

And I got to work in a hallway, kind of similar to my setup now where I'm just like out in the middle of nowhere, it was just this 10 person startup doing a, it was college survey. Uh, information, but you could do it online. Right. And, uh, just building asp.net. Yeah. It was an interesting experience, but you wear a lot of hats whenever there's only four people in a company, right.

Amy: [00:09:36] At the time, how difficult was it to get a job with a computer science degree? 

Rob: [00:09:42] It wasn't as difficult. So this was back in, this is 2007. Um, when, when I had this and you know, one of the things, is it in a small town or small areas, Springfield, Missouri, it's kind of Southern Missouri. There wasn't a lot of people going or coming out of school with either, you know, computer information systems or computer science.

So programmers were kind of hard to find. Um, so it was actually a little bit easier, I would think than maybe some other places to be able to find a job back there. Yeah. Makes sense. Do you mind me asking when this was when, when I, yeah, this was back in 2007. Yeah. This is a bit ago. 

Amy: [00:10:17] Not too long, though. Not too long. Okay. And then Matt, I understand that you are also an author on the side of, uh, working your, on your full-time jobs. So can you tell me about the books that you've written.

Matt: [00:10:33] I, well, we're both authors actually. Rob and I are both. I think Rob is more, has more recent experience than I do, but, uh, yeah, I, I, uh, I wrote a book published back in 2013.

I believe. Uh, I've worked on books since then, but not as like an author. But it was a topic I was really passionate about at the time and I still carry a candle and that's the expression carry a candle for it to this day aspect oriented programming AOP. And, uh, there wasn't at least that I could find a, a book that was approachable for everyday.net developer on that topic.

And so I felt really strongly about getting that book out there. 

Amy: [00:11:13] Can you tell me a bit about the process of publishing? I know this is a little left field, but I would love to become an author one day. So I'm curious about that. 

Matt: [00:11:23] Okay. Well, again, Rob might have a little more recent knowledge on it. Um, but uh, for me it was just like, it was kind of a passion project to start with and I was.

I was, I wrote like a sample chapter. That was kind of the first thing I did. Cause I had, I had known some people who've written books and kind of got their advice. And they said, Oh, you know, write up sample chapter and shop it around. And so that's what I did. I shopped it around to four or five different publishers.

Wasn't getting anything. I'm not trying to start working some, some networking that I had. Some people who had written books and contexts they had and nothing was really working. I was about one day away. From pushing, go on my own Kickstarter for this book, because that's how strongly I felt like this book is going to get written one way or the other.

So, um, but like one day before I got contacted through my network, like, Hey, we're going to, we want to publish your book. It was, it was Manning. They'd actually done some other aspect of it, parenting books. So it was a perfect fit, I think. Uh, so I would just kind of that, that process of, of writing something on spec, shopping it around, working the network.

And, uh, just persevering and then just, just knowing that even if no one picks up this book, I'm still gonna write it. Like, this is something I care about. I want to do. Uh, even if it's not going to pay me very much money and ultimately tech book offering, like even if you're, I think John Resig of jQuery fame, he wrote a book on jQuery and he shared his royalty statement.

Recently. And it's like, well, this is not the profession to make a lot of money. Let me tell you that. Because if  isn't making it, then there's no way in obscure AOP and.net book is going to make the bestseller list. Let's say. 

Amy: [00:13:01] Yeah, that's interesting. Actually, I never thought about that, but I guess with a tech book, like, do you think that it goes out of style super quickly?

Matt: [00:13:11] That is definitely the case these days. Now the book I had I'd written, if you look at the examples now, I'm sure none of them compile, but a lot of the rest of the book, I had kind of written it in mind of what if I'm reading this five years from now? Well, it's still be useful. And so that's the kind of tactics.

So, but not every book can be like that. Right. If I'm writing a book on ASP for. You know, there's not much you can do about making that useful to someone running ESPN at five or six or whatever. So, uh, tech books are tough and they do go out out of a, not a style, but they go obsolete relatively quickly or deprecate it quickly.

So I, you know, I think a lot of the companies are starting to push towards different delivery models of their books. Maybe more like a live updated. You can read it as it gets updated kind of book, or even just like video content. You see a lot of that. It's a little quicker to produce. I think. Good turn around time on.

Amy: [00:14:00] So do you have any future authoring plans? 

Matt: [00:14:05] I don't know how much I can talk about it, but I I've written a chapter recently for a book. Like it's not my book, but I was brought in as like, Hey, could you write this chapter for me? And I honestly, I have no idea if for when it's going to be published at this point, but I've also done some like reviews of books.

And this is the thing, like getting plugged into the publisher. You get opportunities to review books and provide feedback and provide quotes for the book or, you know, things like that. So again, not super lucrative, but, uh, you know, I get to check out a lot of cool books before they get published. So that's interesting.

Amy: [00:14:42] And Rob, I would love to hear about your authorings journey as well. 

Rob: [00:14:47] Oh, yeah. Yeah. So I wrote a book called art to DBC revealed. So it is, it's just on a new relational database specification for being able to communicate with the database reactively. Um, and to Matt's point, um, that's something that it's new, right?

So RTD BC as a specification, actually hasn't even released as one hour. Um, it's still pre GA. And so it's likely to change a ton. So, you know, in order to keep up with the times for something like this, you know, I'd have to go and probably write different versions of the book and make updates to it.

Cause it's likely that the specification is going to change a ton even within the next year. Um, but it's a pretty small, you know, 200 pages. Um, my experience was a little bit different in that the, the publisher a press actually sought me out after I had done a couple of presentations on the topic. I mean, it's new enough that nobody's really written that much on it Monday, you know, asked if I would be interested in writing a book on, onto BBC and, you know, I'm like, uh, you know, where Matt was.

He, you know, he kind of had this passion for the project and, you know, for the topic that he wanted to cover, you know, I hadn't really developed that yet because it was so new. Um, and you know what, we were working on the job, I cover a bunch of different languages with different types of connectors or drivers.

So I mainly did it out of the. The question of whether or not I could write a book was, was mainly why I did. It was just to see if I could, we had just gotten an infant son, uh, it was the middle of a pandemic. So I figured why not? Why not just try to, you know, make my sleep cycle even more thrown off. So I'll try to write a book and, you know, the process went that,

it was, you know, He was a little bit different in that whenever you work for the publisher like that, they define the deadlines and you know, the checkpoints and stuff like that. And it was basic. So I would write a chapter a week. Um, so it should, a chapter would basically need to be uploaded into Google drive is what we used every week.

And so there were about 10 to 12 pages on average, um, just every week. So it was a lot of really, really early mornings. You got to create, obviously there's the, all the texts. Um, but you have to create all of the figures and diagrams. And you know, if you have, you know, Matt had mentioned source code that compiles.

So there's a ton that go into technical books on top of the text itself. Right. And you have to. Basically, you know, write thousands of lines of code, um, depending on your project as well. Um, mine was actually in Java, you know, it's, it's a Java based specification. I mean, I actually come from more of a background of.net it's similar to Matt.

Um, so that was, that was also a learning process for me because you gotta to make sure that you're doing things, you know, for the job ecosystem, the way that they would write things, I'm going to be able to present that in a book as well. So. Definitely didn't do it for the money. 

Amy: [00:17:30] I was going to say. I think it would be interesting to come the opposite way from how Matt had producers book, where the publisher reaches out to you and sets all the deadlines.

Because one of the things that I feel with when you're working with words as a medium, is that you can get. Into these like creative standstills or like, uh, creative blockers where you just like can't write or can't edit anymore. So I think it's interesting to think about having to work on a deadline.

Like that must have been very challenging. 

Rob: [00:18:03] Yeah. It was, you know, I mean, a lot of it had to deal with you got to be consistent and you have to be very structured with having to go about it. You got to start early, like in the week, because if you put it all off, Towards the end or at least in my case, if I put it off on towards the end, just like you said, you may run into, you know, some kind of writer's block, but I found that for me, outlining everything upfront and how I would actually organize just the flow was the easiest way for me to get in there.

And so the text really, you know, I would, I would do the flow or the structure and I'd write all the code samples and then I would just let the text basically, you know, be something that I'm describing, what I had already kind of laid out as a story. Do you have future offering plans as well? Oh man. It's like so fresh off of it.

I gotta be honest with you. I was just really happy to be done. So that's going to have to wear off before. Uh, so as of now, no, that's going to have to, that's gonna have to wear off. So who knows? How long,

uh, how long did it take you to write the book? Start to finish? 16 weeks, 16 chapters. Yeah. So about four months. And, and then there's a couple of months on top of that, right? Where you go through editing cycles. And I mean, you kind of going through editing, you know, during the process, but then you've got all these finalization steps and front matter and back matter and stuff like that.

Jim Johnson to about six months to finish the process and then it took another month or two. It actually just published in the beginning of April. So just came out. Congratulations. Oh, Matt, how long did it take you to write your book? I'm still waiting for my son coffee, by the way,

you all give me a dry bait on the air. Let's just clear this right now.

Matt: [00:19:47] My book, I, geez. I don't remember. It felt like it felt like the same amount of time for my son to be born like nine months. But I don't, you know, like, like Rob said, there's a lot of front matter and forward and appendices and I had to go back through and set the indexing of all that kind of stuff. You don't, you don't kind of think about as you're reading a book, but it's, it's stuff that the author has to do.

And I know there was a chair. Uh, change editors probably two or three times. Not because my book was problematic, but just because organizational changes, uh, at the time. So that added some time to it as well. But I feel like it was probably somewhere in the same range, six to nine months. Mine was about the same length as Rob's two, I think 230, some pages, something like that.

Amy: [00:20:33] Interesting. Okay. I'm gathering all of this information in my little grain for my future publishing novels.

Matt: [00:20:40] If you still want to write a book Amy, after talking to us, then you are destined to be an author. Let me tell you.

 Excellent. Great. I imagine Rob that being a developer advocate means that you have to establish credibility in the industry or amongst developers, at least. So writing this book would probably have helped that. Is there another way that you try and incorporate that into your career? Just like establishing credibility in the industry. 

Rob: [00:21:10] Yeah. I mean, I think the book either, it's going to take it one of two directions. It's either going to help establish that or it's going to come back.

We destroy it. So the jury's still out. We'll see, it's just spread out, you know, the press, we'll see what that looks like in a couple of months, but no, I mean, I think that's actually a really good point about developer advocacy and really developer relations in general. Right? I mean, you have to. Become, you know, come across as a believable developer, uh, first and foremost.

Right. And for me, I think, you know, Matt and I've actually had conversations about this a lot for me. I really liked it to route things in sample code. Anything that I do, whether it's a blog post or, you know, a video or a webinar or anything that I would be using as developer content to help somebody, you know, learn whatever it is.

I feel like I should do it first. Right. Anything that I'm talking about or anything I'm writing about. And so I typically. When I start any project, you know, developer relations related now book included, which is why I mentioned writing the sample code is that I like to just dive directly in the code, whether that's Python or node or, or Java, I think it's extremely important.

And a lot of that research, you know, not only just getting it to run, but you know, from a developer relations side, you also have to, to know how, you know, the industry. He actually writes that stuff. You know, what ecosystems are they in? You know, what tools are they using? You know, what's the preference or the style that they write their code in.

You know, what design patterns are prevalent on? What tool sets are prevalent, stuff like that. Um, all in this effort, right? To be, to establish credibility, like you said, I think is really important. And to do that, I think you have to actually get in there and get your hands dirty. I don't know.

Amy: [00:22:46] I think at the end of the day, like with almost anything, it breaks it down to understanding the problem that your people are facing or the problem that you're trying to solve. So being able to have your hands in the pot or feet on the ground or whatever analogy you want to put into it and truly understanding the developer problem, I think is probably a huge piece of the pie as well. Matt, please tell me this is going to be a good one. I feel tell me why you love your job. If you do. 

What about a deal? I mean, don't probably don't tell me if you hate your job, because I don't think Couchbase would like that 

Matt: [00:23:30] love is a strong word when it comes to a job, you know, I love my kids. I love my wife. I love Cincinnati reds. Any sort of job that was going to be tough. Tough for me to say I love it.

Right. Cause it's, you know, uh, if I loved it, I wouldn't expect to get paid for, I would just do it, but, uh, yeah, I, I, I very much enjoy my job. I've worked at Couchbase for, like I said, over five years. It's the second longest I spent at any company in my whole career. Uh, I, I definitely. Uh, I hope I'm not saying it's not a term.

I definitely see my, this has been my last technical job. The next job after this will probably be something involved with like, I don't know, maybe farming or, or going back to being a cable guy or something. Right. This is, this is the last level that will work, uh, in software. I think that's how I look at it.

So I very much like it here. Yes. 

Amy: [00:24:19] That's a bold statement for someone who says that they only like their job. Well, okay. Well, it's more than life, but I don't know if I go to use the word love. I love my job, but you know, this is the first job that I have ever said that I loved. I don't think I've ever loved to draw prior to this. So I think that's fair 

you know, there's been jobs where I love the people that I work with. There's been projects I work on where it's just like, absolutely. This is something that's super important to me. And so I love being involved in it, but yeah, I think, I think I reserved the word love for, for certain, certain class of things.

Right. Well, wifes and sports teams. Yes, yes. Rob, what about you? Do you love your job? 

Rob: [00:25:09] Yeah. I mean, love is a strong word. No, I'm just kidding.

well, you know, one of the things that I realized, so I spent some time, you know, at similar to Matt story, I'd spent some time as an engineer and I actually spent about. Not a decade writing mobile applications, you know, that became more and more complex is, you know, different versions and, you know, bigger libraries and STKs came out and stuff.

And one of the things that I realized is that I'm an okay developer. Like, you know, I mean, I'm not like the best, um, but I'm all right. You know, I think I'm all right. But one thing that I really love, especially I loved about a job that really set me on the path to, um, developer advocacy was really consulting.

You know that process of really teaching somebody or facilitating someone. Um, that's what I love most about developer relations is that I've kind of figured out that, you know, I'm not going to crank out a bunch of new patents or, you know, invent a new algorithm or, you know, come up with, um, some really cool snazzy product from scratch, just working, you know, in my basement alone.

Uh, but what I can do is I can help facilitate somebody to do that. And I think that's what I love the most is being able to. Create content, um, or just, you know, better the experience of other developers that are far smarter than I am, man. And be able to figure that stuff out. 

Amy: [00:26:24] Yeah, it makes sense. I guess you've only been there for a few years. Right? I want, I just want wondering how that experience has changed with COVID and not being able to see people face to face, you know,

Rob: [00:26:35] Yeah. I mean, I, I don't know how much that is really, um, you know, affected. So you kind of mentioned, you know, the first couple of years was kind of nice as it Emory be.

Like they didn't have a lot of developer content. So in order to kind of get out and, you know, meet the community, I first needed to give them something to talk about because all I'd be. Going out is basically like why doesn't this content exist or this sample exists. And so COVID is really given me the opportunity to do a lot of heads down, work like that and be able to create that.

And, you know, from a seeing people thing, I think it would be pretty nice. I've worked remotely though since 2014. Um, so, you know, the whole wearing sweats all the time, barely going outside, unless I have to, I mean, that's pretty part of what it was like pre COVID for me. I don't know about that. This is a very developer answer.

I am dying in COVID on the other hand because I am like, I needed to get out. I need to talk to people. I need some socialization time. I need to dress up. Matt. Do you have any advice for an aspiring product manager? 

Matt: [00:27:44] Well, so I want to just say this is kind of a common thing I'm running into these days, but I'm not a product manager.

I'm a product marketing manager, right? So I'm, I'm managing the marketing around a particular product or set of features in that product. Whereas a product manager is going to actually. Be managing the features themselves. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that's a little difference. Yeah. But you know, I'm relatively new to being a product marketing manager.

From my point of view, it's, it's very much like being a developer advocate, developer evangelist, I think is there's a, there's a few activities that maybe I do or don't do that are slightly different, but I think there's a lot of overlap and it's very much like Rob was saying like, just. Trying to teach people about, Hey, there's this really cool thing here.

This can really help you. Or I want to, I want to teach you about how this thing works and how this is going to help you with your job. Um, why this is so cool. Why so interesting. I think there's a lot of overlap between those, those two. So I think very much the approach should be, you know, if you're passionate about something and passionate about talking to people about it and teaching about it, um, And, and just spreading the word about it and, uh, you know, you don't have to be, you know, uh, Rob is being humble about his, his, uh, abilities.

He's a very good developer may on the other hand, not, you know, again, I'm, I'm, I'm probably okay. Um, but you know, that's that's okay. W when we're, like I said, we're not going to be the ones who are inventing these algorithms. We're going to be the ones who are out there. Trying to get people excited about them, getting people interested in them and, and to get feedback on them.

That's one of the things I miss about being in-person events, actually, Amy and I'm with you on that is that. Going to these virtual events and being on zoom screens, it's very different than being at a booth or being at a conference and people just asking questions and saying, well, what about this? What about this?

Oh, I didn't think about that. Let's talk about that right now. You know, it just kind of the, the, the, you know, people talking about the water cooler at work. Can you, you stop by and, and hear the chatter and you can join in a conversation. No, I, I, we talked about this last podcast. I very much endorse working from home.

I love working from home, but the, the developer events, the conferences, user groups, I miss those tremendously and I can not wait to get back to them. Yeah, right. 

Amy: [00:30:06] Uh, every Tuesday we run our hacker noon meetings in the mornings. I am invigorated on Tuesday is from team meetings. That's the level of socialization that I'm having.

I'm like stoked about having TV, just to get a little face to face time in there. And what advice would you have for yourself? From 10 years ago, like if you could give your current self advice 10 years ago, what would have been 

Matt: [00:30:34] 10 years ago would be 2011. If your current self could give your 10 years ago.

So can I be stopped by and get advice? Bitcoin, get heavy into crypto currency, zoom, IPO, or whatever, you know, chase 10 years ago. Uh, if we're talking career advice, I guess. Thinking about 10 years ago, I was very much thinking like, I need to be, I need to keep going up the chain. I need to be, I'm a developer.

Now I need to be a senior developer. I need to be senior partner. I need to be a manager. I need to be a project manager. I need to go up that chain and, and, you know, be a CIO B to C, C a S. Whether they call it CIO, CTO, something like that. Like, I need to get up that. I think I would tell myself based on hindsight, look, is that what you think you have to do or is that what you actually want to do?

Um, because once you start going up that ladder, like, it gets very different. So like you get it, you get away from those code samples and you get away from the stuff that you love about technology. You know, just give that a little more thought than you than you did the first time around. 

Amy: [00:31:43] Yeah, I think society tells us that we need to become managers and then we just need to climb the corporate ladder and we need to, um, get that promotion to feel successful or whatever.

But I totally agree. Like, and also it's, it's about enjoying the journey as well. I mean, once you. If, if that is your end goal, truly, and you do get that manager position, you'll look back and five years later. And remember the days when you were in the pits and like enjoying the moment as well. So that's a great point, matt.

Rob, what advice would you give yourself? 10 years ago?

Rob: [00:32:20] Yeah, I, you know, it was funny. I was always, I was like, man, I'm glad Matt gets to go first on this because he was kind of on the spot to ask that. And then I just got so engrossed in listening to his answer. I was like, yeah, that's really good. That's really good advice.

But honestly, um, you know, mine would be pretty similar, you know, I think if I were to think back, I would have just told myself to relax a little bit, very similar, you know, you know, kind of moving up the chain, but also I spent a lot of time doing side work. And not because I just loved the project. I did a lot of contract work on the side just for, you know, making money.

Um, and though I learned a lot from doing a lot of that stuff. I probably lost a lot of years of my wife on the backend, um, from the stress, you know, of, you know, basically having multiple jobs at once taking these hard deadlines. Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. So. Yeah. So I guess maybe I maybe advice to myself like now?

Yeah, yeah. Six months ago probably be the same, but yeah. I mean, that's, it's one of those things I find myself doing quite a bit, you know, I go through these periods of getting. You know, border or stagnant at work. And then, and then just kind of starting something new, like a side project. And I did that a lot more earlier on, but you know, as life kind of moves forward and you get more and more responsibilities and if you're like me, you probably get lazier too.

Um, you know, I've learned to relax a little bit more. And so, uh, that would be the thing that I'd probably say. 

Matt: [00:33:49] I mean, that's really great, Rob. I appreciate that as well. That's also smart cause I, I remember. Digging into the side projects like, Oh man, I've got a spare three hours this week. I need to get a side project going.

And it's ultimately did that really, that really helped me, or did that really just, you know, make me grumpier, you know, for, for two or three months, right. 

Amy: [00:34:10] I am a hundred percent with you there. My coworker sent me a video the other day about, um, choosing one thing, like being good at one thing or solidifying one thing as opposed to like, I wake up at 6:00 AM and then I go to the gym and then I do my morning gardening and then I do my day job and then I learn how to bake and then I go for a run and it's like, You're doing everything at the same time.

You're not going to be good at anything and sticking to one thing, which I am horrible at. I love to put my hands in all of the pots. Um, so I'm definitely with you there. Amazing. Well, Matt, thank you very much for coming back for another episode on the hacker noon podcast. I love having you around and Rob.

It was very nice to meet you and have you on the show. I really appreciate it guys. 

Yeah, thank you. And I just follow Matt. So next time he's here. Just send me an inbox. Awesome. And Matt, where can we find you on Couchbase online? 

Matt: [00:35:13] You can check us [email protected] You can get Couchbase uh, currently, uh, country servers and beta.

You can get that for free at couchbase.com/downloads. You can find me online if you want to talk to me for some reason, I'm on Twitter at M groves, M G R O V E S. And if you want to email me, you can Sue Matthew with two T's dot [email protected] Awesome. And Rob, where can we find you and Maria DB?

Yeah. So you can find Ray DV Frick. He gets no, that's fine. You can find Frick. Maria DB, Maria db.com. And you can just, like Matt said, it's a completely open source solution. You get a free version of the, of the server. The [email protected] slash downloads, just like Couchbase. And you can, if you want to get ahold of me as well, you can reach me on Twitter at probably real Rob, and you can email me as [email protected]

Thank you very much. This podcast was produced by hacker noon. It was hosted by me, Amy, Tom, and it was edited by Damian. I will see everyone again next week.

Amy Tom Hacker Noon profile picture
by Amy Tom @amymtom. Your Hacker Noon Editor & Pod Host. I'm also a businesswoman, diversity advocate, and true crime lover ✌️I Help Businesses Sell


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