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Dreaming and Breaking Molds – Establishing Best Practices with Scott Haines

Relicans host, Lauren Lee talks to Senior Principal Engineer at Twilio, Scott Haines about having a passion for distributed systems and event-based architectures, being a Databricks Beacon, and playing a critical role in establishing best practices for other emerging insights and analytics products in technology.

Should you find a burning need to share your thoughts or rants about the show, please spray them at devrel@newrelic.com. While you're going to all the trouble of shipping us some bytes, please consider taking a moment to let us know what you'd like to hear on the show in the future. Despite the all-caps flaming you will receive in response, please know that we are sincerely interested in your feedback; we aim to appease. Follow us on the Twitters: @PolyglotShow.

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Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome to Polyglot, proudly brought to you by New Relic's developer relations team, The Relicans. Polyglot is about software design. It's about looking beyond languages to the patterns and methods that we as developers use to do our best work. You can join us every week to hear from developers who have stories to share about what has worked for them and may have some opinions about how best to write quality software. We may not always agree, but we are certainly going to have fun, and we will always do our best to level up together. You can find the show notes for this episode and all of The Relicans podcasts on developer.newrelic.com/podcasts. Thank you so much for joining us. Enjoy the show.

Lauren Lee: Scott Haines is a Senior Principal Engineer with a passion for distributed systems and event-based architectures. He is a Databricks Beacon. And he is currently working at Twilio where he helped drive Apache Spark adoption, developed best practices for streaming pipelines and data reliability, and his love of emerging data technologies.

He helped build the Voice Insights infrastructure, which is the eyes and ears into the telecommunication services, and has played a critical role in establishing best practices for other emerging insights and analytics products. In his free time, Scott enjoys writing articles, speaking at conferences, teaching at meetups, and mentoring other engineers. Scott, welcome to Polyglot!

Scott Haines: Thank you for having me. Hopefully, this is going to be a fun conversation.

Lauren: Yeah. TBD, right? But yeah, I hope so also. [laughs] I'm really excited to be chatting with you today. I love your resume and all the different things that you've been working on. Let's start maybe at the place of Twilio. What is Twilio? And take me there.

Scott: Yeah. So Twilio I joined after...I was at Yahoo for about five years before I joined Twilio. And I joined Twilio back in 2016 when it was mainly more of a telecommunications and messaging company. Back in the day when I joined, if you had ever driven through San Francisco, there used to be big billboards. And it's like, "Ask your developer." Ask them what --

Lauren: Ask Your Developer. I have the book on my bedside table. [laughs]

Scott: I have the book as well. We got them as a surprise last year when the book came out. Giving details into why I went to Twilio, I was at Yahoo right before the Verizon acquisition. And it was at this unsteady time, and this is years and years ago. This is my age speaking.

Lauren: No. No. Safe space. [laughs]

Scott: Safe space, right? [laughs] When I had joined Yahoo before Twilio...and this is like the career path or whatever else. But when I joined, it was the first big real company I feel like. Real is in air quotes because my whole life I'm like, I want to work at a company that people have heard of, or I want to try and get someplace. And Yahoo was interesting. I think I was on eight teams in five years. Most projects started and stopped. And then it's like, well, great job, team. That's going into maintenance mode. Let's move on to the next thing.

Lauren: Oh.

Scott: [laughs] And it was kind of almost like a swarm of locusts. It's on to the next thing, on to the next thing. And it was depressing in general.

Lauren: That's such a bummer when you're falling in love with your team or your product, and you're like, "We're building this. We're doing it." And then they're like, and reorg. [laughs]

Scott: Exactly. I think that's bittersweet in general. I think I met some of the longest-term friendships. You think about life, and friends, and things like that, and there are magic moments in life where you're like, okay, for me, it's like, college, there are people that I'll never stop talking to. Then it's like, sole proprietorship work. I was basically just joining companies as a contractor. I never really felt part of it. And then it's like, first startup meet people I'll never stop talking to probably. Things fizzle out. Life is hard. But then moving into Yahoo, some of the people I actually still meet with for coffee every two weeks. Or it's people that were part of that first big experience, you know, the massive ups, the massive downs that happen when you're working on things that you expect to go well that don't.

Lauren: Yeah. Well, it's so formative.

Scott: It's interesting. It's defining what you were hoping for. At least for me, it's like, ah, this is going to be the career that...this is going to be it, and then it wasn't, which is okay. I think everything is a waypoint along a path to where you're going.

Lauren: Of course.

Scott: And that was the reason for joining Twilio. I was looking for a place where culture mattered. And I'd worked at a big company. We had, I think, 7,000 people or 8,000 or so at Yahoo when I left, and it was very large. There's the other issues like infighting and things that happen when a company gets too big and people are like, I need this space. I need these things. These are mine. You can't have them. It's like kids with a toy box.

Lauren: Yeah, turf wars.

Scott: [laughs] Turf war is, I think, perfect or like the game of Risk. I think a turf war is nicer. It's like a playground economy for children or whatever else. There are bullies, there are non-bullies, and you always hope for the best. But I was looking for a company; I guess like that though for Twilio...I'd worked at a video relay company before joining Yahoo. And that was for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Lauren: Oh, cool.

Scott: I really enjoyed just the communication space and being able to give people a chance to be heard. And that was, I think, one of the most fulfilling jobs that I had. And that was a place called Convo Relay, and it was a startup in San Ramon. It was deaf-owned and operated. And I was the person who I joined, and I'm like, all right, this is going to be a reverse challenge. The team was awesome, the brightest people I've ever worked with. The only difference was that we had the synthetic filter of I can't keep up with their sign language. And we're chatting through messaging. Back before even the pandemic, we used Slack and things. But it was a really fun challenge. And I enjoyed my time there in the communication space.

And we'd actually looked at Twilio as an option just back, maybe in 2011 or 2012. They had just started up. So basically, I think it's seven years later I was going back to Twilio and interviewing for them. And I think it was one of the places where it's like, I want to work on something that means more than an ad sale. And that was what I was feeling when I was at Yahoo. It's like; we don't care as much about the experience; we care more about can we surface an ad? And can we get as many ads?

That's the hard part of life. Something pays for something. And ads pay for free services. But it wasn't really a cathartic experience. I wanted something where it's like, oh, I feel good coming home at the end of the day. It's a service that people want to use or the developer experience is good.

Lauren: Yeah. And it prioritizes the developer experience and sees the developers as individuals that are working constantly to improve their lives and make the coding solutions that they're providing innovative and imaginative. And I really love that and appreciate about Twilio.

Scott: I would completely agree. I think I went for the docs, which sounds weird, right? This was the first lovable doc experience.

Lauren: Yeah, I can relate to that.

Scott: Going through that, it's like, here's an API that's a one-liner. And you can go send a text message, which is like --

Lauren: Boom, it's sent.

Scott: Woohoo. It's interesting. I don't know why I ended up at Twilio. I think I was just looking for a happy place. When I joined, I think we were 700 people, maybe 600. We had one building in San Francisco, Harrison Street. And the only thing I didn't like about it was the commute from San Jose. So Sundays, it was two hours each way.

Lauren: [laughs] Oh no.

Scott: And I remember the first month was like, ah, my wife was like, "You look really terrible." And I'm like, "Well, the Caltrain broke down for half an hour, an hour. And it was 100 degrees inside. And we were all standing."

Lauren: So yeah, I am terrible. [laughs]

Scott: I'm feeling terrible. But it was interesting because I think it was one of the first places where I think pecking order didn't matter, if that makes sense. A lot of companies, it's like, well, this is a senior engineer talking. It's like, well, but are they making sense, and are people's voices heard? And I think that was one of the things that was really special when I joined back in 2016. And then, from then, I literally just was on one team. So I joined one team called The Voice Connections team. I was on there for not a very long time because we were spinning up a site what we were calling Voice Insights.

To give you tons of history, prior to going to Twilio, one of the last teams I worked on at Yahoo was called Flurry Analytics. And Flurry was an acquisition. And at the time when it was acquired, I think it was 2014. Flurry Analytics was the biggest mobile analytics provider in the world. It was bigger than...ate its lunch like Firebase Analytics, and you guys as well for New Relic. But I remember at that time, it's like, man, this is going to be really awesome, and I'll learn all these really cool things.

And what I ended up doing was basically working with just really intelligent senior fellows who I was afraid of early on in my career. It's like, those people they've been in this career forever. They're going to not listen, and they're going to, you know, tell this...I guess it's fear you make up. It's like, these people aren't going to be the mentors you want them to be, or they end up being the nicest people in the whole entire world.

Lauren: [laughs] I love when that happens.

Scott: I guess I don't understand it. I think early on in the career I think there are these assumptions that --

Lauren: I know exactly what you're saying. If there's a senior put in front of your title or something, the moment that that role or you graduate to that place that you must have all the answers, or that you've stopped asking questions yourself, or that you've stopped being confused by something which I'm like, I'm confused all the time. [laughs]

Scott: Everyone's confused all the time. That's the secret of life, right?

Lauren: Absolutely.

Scott: Everyone's just trying their best. And no one's right all the time. If they are, that's great. But usually, it's because they're not willing to accept no or anything else like that.

Lauren: 100%. I think the great learning moments always come from those times that you're wrong. And you have to make sense of it, or you fail at something...so yeah, I completely agree.

Scott: It sounds dark. It's like learning through pain, right? You get burned. You don't get burnt again. And I think that's how that's how we learn in general. You risk something. If it's a failure, that's great. You've learned a lesson from it, which I think is an awesome thing in general.

Lauren: Absolutely. I think that's super fair. So is that where you got your bug for data analytics while you were at Flurry?

Scott: Yeah. So there's more history behind it. I think the data bug itself one of the first projects I started on was something called Livestand back in the day when the iPad 1 was out. And it's like, everyone's moving to non-printed media. When I joined the Yahoo Livestand team, it was kind of a Flipboard app. And the sad thing is that it wasn't Flipboard, and Flipboard literally came out a year later. And it's like, why didn't we have a really cool effect?

Lauren: That was a nice scroll feature, whatever, the flip. [laughs]

Scott: It was the serendipity. It's like, what happens if...oh, that's so cool. It feels like it's in real life. It's very good actions for that application. But it was interesting because that was the first app where it's like, oh, the data matters. What people are doing matters to understand is this successful? I think it was like 100 magazines that had signed up. It's like, what magazine do people use? This was back before the days of GDPR and stuff. We know exactly who's looking at what magazines, and you can target ads. It's like, yay, ads. This is great. But I think for that, it was interesting to see how data drives thought and decisions. And how do you really use the analytics? How do I learn if a click was a good click? Was it a mistake? It's interesting.

Lauren: Right. Versus the shallow or empty kind of analysis of something. It reminds me I was on a team at Kindle for a while, and we had the readership data that we were publishing. New York Times, of course, does the most sold books and whatnot. But Amazon has the data of what are people actually reading? What are people finishing really, really fast?

What are people starting and then can't ever seem to pick back up again? They purchase it because it's the hot book but don't actually touch. And that was fascinating to make sense of what story is there? And why do we have to somehow curate a list that avoids Harry Potter because Harry Potter and all seven books were at the top of that reading list every single week, week to week? And it just was not interesting data then. [laughs]

Scott: I think it's still true, right?

Lauren: It is.

Scott: It's been in the Top 10 list forever, and it will never go away.

Lauren: I think we took out the Bible also. I think we took out religious texts and stuff like that. But it was just then what do you do with...if you have a Top 20 list, what do you do with those other 13 spots? Geographically, how do you make a narrative about people your particular age in this area are all seeming to love this book? You should check it out also. Again, before GDPR, and it was a bit --

Scott: I think that label has to be there because I feel like privacy wasn't a thing. This was 2012 still.

Lauren: Yes. I feel like my own personal privacy journey has really just evolved so much in the past couple of years of understanding...And then looking back on jobs I've had and being holy smokes, what were we...It's just interesting.

Scott: I think interesting is a good word for it.

Lauren: [laughs]

Scott: It's like the only thing you can do. You can go, yeah, it was interesting. Another interesting thing when we...so I worked in Yahoo Games back when Yahoo had games. I think it was my second kind of foray into what can we do with data that is actually really fun versus collecting the analytics and understanding the top list? Here are the top stories.

Back in the day, I don't know who remembers the Yahoo homepage at all. I didn't usually go to it. I'd go to Google for search. But when I was working at Yahoo, I worked on the homepage. And it was funny because back in the day, before the BuzzFeed and things, Yahoo homepage was like the BuzzFeed.

Lauren: It was curated lists.

Scott: It was.

Lauren: Yeah, I remember.

Scott: The editors would be like, this is something that everybody will click on. We have the data to prove that people will click on it. And it ended up always being...I think the top five stories would always have at least one Kardashian. It was like the joke on the team.

Lauren: That's funny.

Scott: Any Kardashian story was going to get a billion page views, and everyone's just going to sit there and absorb 5 to 10 minutes worth of reading everything. And it was gold.

Lauren: Wow. They have not left our lives.

Scott: They haven't.

Lauren: That is wild. That is wild. Wow, what a monopoly. It's fascinating. [laughs]

Scott: World's best marketers for that family, just in general.

Lauren: 100%

Scott: But anyways, forget them. [laughter] Let's move on.

Lauren: Anyway.

Scott: Whatever. But I think it's interesting because I think Games was the first time where it was a little bit more fun than...It was just like, [laughs] funny stories. I was telling a friend the other day it's like, who would have thought that Mahjong was the most played game in the world? That's what we learned for casual gaming.

Lauren: So cool.

Scott: If you put Mahjong out there, people will sit there, and they will play for eight hours a day. Oh my goodness, I think back in the day, we had broad categories. You brought up the whole it's like, male under or over 35 or female under or over 35 or people under or over 35. And it was interesting because I think at the time, I didn't understand why that mattered as much.

And then you start to put things together when you think about who likes action-adventure games. It's going to be somebody who's usually younger or usually older. But it kind of skips like the 35 to 50 age range just because people are usually busy. You don't have time for certain things. You have time for a game of Solitaire if you're feeling stressed out or something else like that.

But that was the first...the Yahoo Games days I think it was like 2014. It was kind of the first...it wasn't just web. And it wasn't just can we load a page and put an ad on it? We bought this company from Denmark called PlayerScale. We had acquired them. And it was kind of like, if you remember, Facebook Parse. They had these tools for people to have...here's like a key-value database. You can use them like Facebook will scale it, or I guess Facebook bot parse. So before that, it was like, here are things you'll need to run a game. You need a way to do communication. You can do that through simple key-value database. Here are some analytics. We have payments and other things like that.

So Yahoo bought that. I think it was 2013 or 2014. Timelines are hard. But I wanted to go join the Games team and start things back up. But that was also my first kind of experience in actually building recommendation engines or working with lots of data. And I think for me, like that was, I guess...at the time, we were using something called Apache Storm. We had Hadoop, which had been around for a while. And it was like one of the biggest user groups was out of the Yahoo campus. It was called the HUG group, like the Hadoop Users Group. So they met for basically pizza and stories on Wednesdays once a month, which was really fun.

Lauren: Love it.

Scott: But yeah, so games is the first time where we started adding streaming data. So we were using Kafka, and it was like, oh, sweet. This is really fun and difficult to do. So it was like a fun, new challenge. How do we make sure that we didn't drop data? It's like, well, you'll never know. It's like, okay, what are the things that people use nowadays or do nowadays? It's like, well, you need to validate your data. You need to do all these things to understand how things are flowing through your system.

I remember now, in retrospect, we didn't have really any tools at our disposal other than it's like, well, data expires every 10 minutes because we were reading all of the kind of Yahoo firehose data. And then it was like, that wasn't necessarily set up well either because we had to filter for just games data. And so we had everything coming through, so another kind of security nightmare.

Lauren: Oh my gosh.

Scott: Who cares what's in that? Just don't read the things you don't want.

Lauren: [laughs]

Scott: It's like a very large row of Avro data that had everything you could possibly ever need. It was like 115 columns. Most things were null, and it became every data type you'd ever want. It's like, is it mobile? Look for mobile_. It's like, this is really crappy. I didn't know about, I guess, the hardships of data engineering at that point. Because this was the first time where I was like, okay, you're on the ground basically pulling data now, and now we're going to do stuff with it. We're going to power our whole entire application with it. And I remember that just being exciting. The gears were turning. I was waking up super early. I wanted to go in to just to work on it more. It was the first thing where it's like, man, that's just like the coolest thing in the whole entire world.

Lauren: That's the best feeling.

Scott: Because it's data, right? It's like, oh.

Lauren: No, don't say that. Tell me more about....in your bio, I read that you’re a Databricks Beacon. Can you tell me more about what that program is?

Scott: Yeah. So this is a program that just kicked off, and it's for people not like working for Databricks who are part of the community and helping to teach and evangelize or mentor new people.

Lauren: Awesome.

Scott: I have this one like this over here. So this is a like a...and no one else will see --

Lauren: It's like a champion program in a way.

Scott: Yeah, same exact thing.

Lauren: Aww.

Scott: We got these kinds of cool silkscreen photos printed out for us. And it was like a thank you, which was really nice during the pandemic too. It's like a weird generalization. But it feels like a lot of the community and culture has kind of died away as people are stuck indoors. It's really nice --

Lauren: Absolutely. Community work is so complicated right now. But it's cool to see people making efforts and doing it in a digital way and encouraging folks to still build relationships and bridges with one another, and mentor each other, and to reach out when they need support in those sorts of things. I think that's a really lovely way to celebrate members.

Scott: I couldn't agree more. It was kind of a surprise. If you think about it, it's like being part of open source and being part of open source not as like a core committer or anything else but as like, here are best practices, here's ways that you can use things and reduce extra effort or toil. Don't do things the hard way. Here are patterns that I can share, or here are things that we can talk about that we built at Twilio that we think everyone should know about. You can go basically give that stuff away at a workshop, and then people can gain a year of life back. And I think with a lot of this stuff, if you're able to do that, I think it's wonderful.

It's nice to be able to give back, especially when something's lovable that you use. And I think for me, moving from Apache Storm at Yahoo to using Spark when I joined Twilio, there's a steeper learning curve switching over from something that I used to use to something that was brand new. But it's interesting because I think it was the first project that I used or the first data framework that just did a lot of things conveniently for the end-user.

For example, when I was at Yahoo, we did a lot of things where we had the ability to basically process data in stream. But we didn't have repeatable libraries we could easily use. So we had to invent everything. So it was like, oh, we want to create a session. So somebody starts a user journey, where do they go within a journey? And is it all within a 15 to 30-minute timeout from the last event? How do we understand how people are using something or interacting with it? And those types of things are a lot more difficult than when we're like oh, we could do it like X, Y, or Z. And that stuff was just for free when we started using Spark.

Lauren: That's so cool.

Scott: And that saves the team so much time. But then, from there, it just became something that the team had together. So we built up a big team around sharing and community and how to use a tool that we find fun to use.

Lauren: Well, and it doesn't feel like it's marketing then. It's just genuinely sharing with one another, saying, "I really like this. I benefit from it every single day. And I think it'd be cool." If you also take a look at this, it's...gosh. What is the phrase? Salt off my back? No, that can't be it. It's no sweat off my back. [laughs] That's it.

Scott: We can use either one. I think you've invented a new phrase today.

Lauren: Yeah, my idioms are so terrible sometimes. I'm so bad at remembering them for whatever reason. [laughs

Scott: That's part of life, right?

Lauren: Totally. [laughs]

Scott: It's like, I would never use this. But then it's like, this feels like the perfect thing to use. It's like, I don't remember what it is now. It's like, oh crap, all right. Move on. Move on.

Lauren: Right. And I can't get it out of my head then. It's the worst feeling in the world. But no, I noticed that you write articles and tutorials and those sort of things too. And I think that that is...yeah, just wanting to share with the world and say if you're facing a similar frustration or problem in your life as a developer, this might be something that you might benefit from. And so, instead of just keeping it for yourself, you're sharing it with your community. What a wonderful thing to do for the industry of tech.

Scott: Thank you. I couldn't agree more. I think a lot of the stuff started early on. So background-wise, I started my life as a graphic designer. I always wanted to do...I like pictures. I like artwork. I like painting. I initially got into the University of Vermont for fine art and ended up taking basically...I went to Northeastern instead after having conversations about artwork.

I think my mom was like, "Are we going to pay $30,000 a year to go to college?" It wasn't a nice thing. But it was more a reality. It's like, how will you pay back your student loans if you have to sell stuff in the gallery? I'm like, well, that's unfortunate. That's kind of what I want to do.

But at the same time, I was doing Flash animation. I'm like, I could maybe go into games or something else but ended up getting into basically Northeastern as a graphic designer. Because one of my dad's good friends in the firm was like, "Hey, here's some cool stuff that we do all day." I remember going into an office that wasn't like...storytelling time.

My dad used to work at the University of Massachusetts in law, which was not the nice University of Massachusetts, but it was kind of like satellite campuses. And I remember going in there, and there was always the smell of burnt coffee, and sadness, and very flickering fluorescent lights.

Lauren: Academia, yeah. [laughs]

Scott: This was the old school before nice brick buildings and walnut-clad offices and things like that.

Lauren: I can picture it. [laughs]

Scott: That's what I saw. He was an electrical engineer, and he's like, "This is the world you could come one day live in." And it's like, don't like that at all. And this guy, Jim Keeler, worked down in South Street in Boston, had a really cool loft with oak floors that creaked. And everyone had Herman Miller chairs and all this cool stuff. I'm like, this is the coolest place in the whole world. Yeah.

But I remember getting started with that. And I liked the idea of graphic design a lot more than I liked the pursuit of it. So I did a first internship at Northeastern, and I think I worked on a Gillette logo for eight months. And that's eight months of the same thing. And I got stir crazy. So I started...I'm like, "Hey. Maybe I'll build your website." And they're like, "Oh, awesome. We need a website."

I guess I got into web design development kind of reverse. And then I started doing what's called multimedia at Northeastern, which is learn how to program enough to be able to do front-end development, and you can go from there. And that's where a lot of things started.

Lauren: I love that. I love that journey.

Scott: Roads are hard. There's a fork in my life path or something like that.

Lauren: Right, from here to there. And all of it contributes to your interest and the skills that you bring to the table today, I imagine, which is really an important thing to be grateful for and just reflect on every once in a while, I suppose.

And it's interesting, you joined Twilio as a senior software engineer, and then you've stayed and risen the ranks. I feel it's pretty...that might be even uncommon these days. You see people to get a promotion, and especially in tech, just swap jobs and follow somewhere else. It sounds like the culture is incredible. You're working on the tech and the product. You're excited. Is that what kept you there, I suppose?

Scott: So one of the values, when I joined Twilio, was like, we are builders and DevOps people. I guess there weren't these silos of a lot of companies where it's you have to do this job, and then you'll package this product. And our QA team is going to do something with it. Then our launch specialists will go and run this thing in production. And I think this is the first time where it's you wear all hats because there were not enough people to not wear hats.

So I guess you weren't stuffed in a box, for example. It's like, here's your box. This is where you fit. Don't expect to get out of that. This is where you are until you decide that you want to leave the company, which was kind of some experience that I had at other companies during my career as well where it's like oh, that's not what you do here. It's like, oh, I guess you're right, that's not what I do here. I couldn't possibly think for myself, that's great.

Lauren: [laughs]

Scott: So it was nice, I guess, for people to actually believe in the things that I could do.

Lauren: I love it.

Scott: And it's interesting how support in general just helps people's career. It's like, you can do it. Whoa, I sure can. It feels weird that it's...I think for a lot of engineers, everyone's looking for a compliment. There are a lot of companies where it's like, you did well, good work. But that's why you're getting paid. It's like, no, we did good work, but how about a thank you? Just something, some sort of recognition. It doesn't matter what it is. Here's a GIF. You can put it on your profile, on the internet, or here's just something. It doesn't cost anything, really.

There are some marketing resources to design something, but it's a badge for working really hard and not sleeping for a while. And it was the first place where I felt doing work wasn't necessarily something where it was going to not really lead to anything. But also, there was a mentor I had back at my days at Yahoo, this guy, Tim Tully. So he was the CTO at Splunk. Now he's a venture capitalist. And he's had an awesome career. And I remember asking him questions, and it's like, "How did you do so well?" Because he was at Yahoo, and I think he had five promotions in eight years. I think he was the VP of engineering when he left. And he was like, "Work on platforms. If you work on platforms, you solve so many problems for so many people."

Lauren: I love that.

Scott: It's a way to wait to get recognition for something that is typically usually kind of thankless. If you work on a platform, you're not necessarily driving what people see. Customer-facing stuff is the stuff that wins hackathons and things like that. It's like, here's a beautiful UI. Everything works as expected.

But there are also these things that drive and support other things that it's really fun to work on because you're solving all these challenges that aren't just one single challenge. It's like, this has to do everything. It's like, well, that's probably not what we want to do. Let's figure out what we actually want to do with this. And I think for me, that was just kind of really fun to be able to basically get paid to play with tech; it felt like

Lauren: Yeah, it sounds so fulfilling, multifaceted, too, and the problems that you're solving.

Scott: I don't know. It's weird. I don't know how to describe things, you know, like feelings. Feelings have really no explanation for a lot of times, but there's this whole notion that if you wake up in the morning to work, you should enjoy the things that you do.

And then it should be like, I can't wait to get started. I know it's also a symptom of workaholism. It's like, oh, this person just can't stop working. But it's interesting. There's no fear. It's like, oh man; I have to go into work today. I hate the people I work with. I'm going to get railed by the manager the second I come in a minute late.

It's a completely different way of looking at things where if you have a good team if you have something that you believe in that you're working on, it pays dividends itself. I feel I looked for that for a lot of my career. It's like, just doesn't feel wrong, I guess. [laughs] A lot of stuff like when I was at Yahoo, (Sorry, Yahoo, but there was a lot of stuff where it's we know what to expect. This is our eighth project where we know it's just going to probably get shut down later. It's like, at what point do you become a nihilist? At that point, it's like, I want to believe, right?

Lauren: It's something you want.

Scott: You want to hope for change. But I know at a certain point, it's not going to be like that.

Lauren: Well, I'm so happy for you that you found the place that you're at. It sounds fulfilling and gratifying and enjoyable, which is really, I think, the goal. And I think ultimately...I mean, I won't speak for everyone, but for me personally, that's the North Star. That's what you're searching for is that feeling of where I always am looking for ways that my personal interests and skills and just the person that is Lauren also then is balanced by what I'm doing in the day-to-day job.

And so many roles, I feel I've had to kind of close off parts of myself or interest to fulfill whatever it is the objective of the team. And yeah, I just think it's a nice thing to strive for, to know that there is going to be something out there where you can blend all the things, all parts of you, and assets, and features that you're interested in into one role.

Scott: It's interesting the way that you're describing that. As an analogy, if you think about...I'm almost 40. So in my life, I'm like, here's the midpoint. It's all downhill from here. This whole notion a lot of times you'll start to reminisce, and you think back to...so I think about dreams and stuff. I dream, and for some reason, a lot of my dreams take place...it's childhood memories, or it's places that you grew up. It's kind of the core memories from inside out. It's like, oh, here's all these things that you remember.

And I think it's interesting because, for most people, it takes a long time to get out of the person you were as you're trying to figure out who you were, say it's in high school. I think back to all the things that I did because that's what I felt I had to do; for it's like, here's the person that this is one of the boxes that you fit into or whatever else. And it's interesting because it takes most of your life to break that mold and become the person you are and the same thing in work as well. It's if you want to thrive it's --

Lauren: You're trying them all.

Scott: It's hard, right? What do you want to do in 5 years? What do you want to do in 10 years? And I can't answer that question now. It's a weird waypoint, but it's been a fun ride so far.

Lauren: It sounds like an incredible journey. [laughs]

Scott: Thank you.

Lauren: Yeah. Scott, I so appreciate you sharing it all with us today. I'm impressed by the way that you've allowed your curiosities to navigate and allow that to help you on your next steps and whatnot. And it seems like it's behooved you quite a bit because now you're fulfilled, you're interested, you're curious, and like what you're doing day in day out. And I think that's the goal. So I think yeah, I appreciate hearing from you about all of it today.

Scott: Awesome. Thanks. Thanks for having me on. And thanks for letting me tell my story.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on therelicans.com. In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. We'll see you next week. Take care.

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